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10 Retail Trends To Look Out for in 2022

Sam Osbourne
by Sam Osbourne

Making predictions feels a little like trying to predict the winning lottery numbers. But then again, at Qudini we have our ears pretty close to the ground (or shop floor).  We wanted to share some of the emerging retail trends that we’ve noticed across our network of enterprise retailers.

It should go without saying that the 2022 retail landscape will be one that rewards innovation, efficiency and agility – three traits that retail leaders have done a brilliant job at embracing throughout the pandemic – but this year we will see leading retailers use their newly acquired tools and skill sets to take their offerings to the next level.

 

What will be the biggest retail trends in 2022?

Here are some of the retail trends that will dominate the retail landscape in 2022: 

 

1.  Retailers will truly own their omni-channel offerings

Omni-channel is something retail leaders have been advocating for years now, and while many brands have made great strides to improve their offerings, consumers are still left wanting more.

Too often there is a sharp disconnect between in-store retail, e-commerce and customer support functions. Fortunately, in the last few months there has been a sharp increase in the number of retailers implementing omni-channel offerings that help to fill this gap. For instance, retailers now allow customers to book virtual appointments with store associates from the comfort and safety of their own homes or to collect items they’ve bought online from the store car park.

This year we will see this trend expand even more as retailers create powerful customer journeys that span across online and in-store realms.

 

Read: Leading retailers that have expanded their curbside collection process

 

2. Digitally native brands will stay digital

For many retail leaders, opening a brick-and-mortar store is a status symbol, a powerful milestone. For online only retailers then, is there a risk that they’re hurting their brand? 

In the era of omnichannel retail, it’s generally best to have both brick-and-mortar and online stores to offer customers a variety of ways to shop. Yet digitally native businesses aren’t suffering for their lack of physical stores (online only Peloton is a $4 bn scale-up).

 

3.  All age groups will continue to embrace digital innovation

In the wake of the pandemic, digital innovation has skyrocketed and many brands have advanced their roadmaps significantly to improve their digital services. Raj Sangha, our commercial director, recently shared that coronavirus made him a better salesman. Similarly, it’s forced the retail industry to evolve for the better. 

Digital adoption is no longer just for the young and tech-savvy. Covid-19 has stirred consumers from all age groups to adopt new technology and embrace new customer journeys.

In our US survey of 2,000 consumers, we found that Baby Boomer consumers had a strong interest in new technology, such as using virtual wait lines to enter stores or booking appointments for service. In fact, it was on par with younger generations, and sometimes greater.

Going forward, we will see smart retailers look to encourage this digital adoption across all age groups and find ways to appeal to consumers after the pandemic.

 

4.  Virtual appointment scheduling is a permanent solution

As we all discovered throughout 2021, consumers love being able to book visits for in-store services in advance, and there’s a strong demand for online service, too. 

After all, if a customer can find a store associate quickly in-store, they’re likely to walk out. By contrast, with a virtual appointment, the customer instantly connects to their best associate for their needs at the allotted time via video chat.  

Qudini’s recent Retail Virtual Services survey of 2,000 Americans found that during the pandemic, 46% of consumers were interested in booking appointments for online services. However, virtual appointment interest is almost equally as strong post-pandemic (43%). It’s no wonder we think virtual appointments are the future of retail.

Many retailers are catching onto this retail trend and have been offering everything from virtual shopping experiences, to one-to-one online appointments with store associates, to live-streaming in stores.

In fact, a well-known jewelry retailer that we work with said that by offering virtual appointments, they were able to tap into a new audience altogether – male shoppers. The ability to secure in-store expertise for jewelry recommendations and support is obviously something that is incredibly appealing to male shoppers ahead of things like Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

 

 

5.  Virtual try-on technology will pop-up everywhere 

In spite of all of the challenges covid threw at the retail industry, it’s also created retail trends and technologies that we may not have been widely deployed for many years otherwise. 

Beauty retailers, for instance, have leaned on virtual try-on technology to draw crowds back onto the high street. In-store MAC Cosmetics visitors can test out as many as 800 different lipstick shades by uploading a single selfie. This is, of course, invariably more economical than the alternative–retailers lose less on sample products and offer an immensely fun technology for customers to play around with.

 

6.  Influencers will be key brand loyalty drivers

Livetailing, the practice whereby influencers sell branded products during live events, is another retail trend we expect to take off in 2022. It’s an incredibly smart and resourceful way to boost post-pandemic sales. Influencers may well be one of the greatest arrows in the retailer’s arsenal to combat potential post-covid sales slumps and re-engage customers. 

 

7.  Buy Online, Ship-to-Store (BOSS) is set to blow-up

Given that paying for home delivery is all too often putting customers off a purchase, the option to get inventory sent to the nearest store is a welcome one among consumers. The modern consumer likes to have their options, to say the least. 

Several major retailers are already seeing huge BOSS uptake. It’s only a matter of time before this service catches on across the board in retail. 

 

8.  Clienteling is the future

Amazon alone takes up 9.2% of all retail spend in the US. However, Amazon has never set the gold standard for customer experience. This presents a major opportunity for retailers to use clienteling tools to offer a radically different and enticing experience to customers. 

After all, as expectations rise, every customer wants to feel like a VIP, regardless of whether they’re in a low or high-end store. Retailers need to leverage the data they’re collecting on customer interactions to create a personalized in-store and online shopping experience.

Currently, 53% of Millennials don’t think store associates have the tools they need to provide great customer service. With the right clienteling tools, retailers may quickly be able to change this. 

 

9. Streaming services will have a greater influence

As period dramas from Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming giants draw huge audiences, old aesthetics are back in vogue. For example, the ‘Bridgerton effect’ has caused a recent surge in sales of antique furniture, lace tops, and pianos. 

The power of pop culture on retail is stronger than ever, and retailers who can harness it will be very successful indeed. 

 

10. Sustainability will become more affordable

According to a new study from Simon-Kucher & Partners, 33% of Brits are willing to pay more for sustainable products. These consumers are even willing to pay as much as 25% more on average in the name of keeping the world green than their less eco-friendly counterparts. 

However, this also means that 67% of UK consumers won’t spend more for sustainable products. 

Fortunately, we recently came up with 6 steps businesses can take to become more eco-minded while also keeping costs down for the consumer. We’re confident that retailers will need to increasingly take cost-effective yet meaningful steps towards sustainability to avoid shutting themselves off from the consumer. 

 

We’re excited to be helping so many companies such as MADE.com, Dixons Carphone, Leiden University, Nike, and Van Cleef Arpels to expand their digital and in-store offerings with our Retail Choreography solutions. 
For more information about how some of the retail trends covered above like virtual appointment scheduling can help your business to succeed during 2022, contact info@qudini.com for a demo or discussion.

 

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Latest consumer survey report

Our latest consumer survey report shows which types of retail stores and banks customers want to be able to schedule appointments within…

Recent consumer survey report

Our recent consumer survey report shows how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits and which habits will be here to stay…

Upcoming Webinar

Our Upcoming Webinar will present consumer insights on how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits. Sign-up below for Tuesday October 12th (2pm ET | 11am PT).