Retail Trends for 2024 and Beyond: A Beginner’s Guide
As we approach the busiest retail season of the year, it’s clear that the retail industry is constantly evolving. E-commerce continues to play a dominant role, but in-store shopping is also making a comeback. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore the retail trends for 2024 and provide actionable tips for small retailers to leverage them. We have talked to e-commerce visionary Michael Quoc, the founder of tech accelerator Demand.io and creator of SimplyCodes, to gain insights into the future of retail.
Section 1: Recommerce Revolutionizes Shopping Norms
As sustainability and reducing waste become increasingly important, recommerce is set to surge in popularity this holiday season. Recommerce refers to the concept of buying used and secondhand items and promoting reuse, reselling, and thrifting. This trend reflects a growing awareness of the environmental impact of consumerism.
Big brands like Lululemon have already embraced recommerce with initiatives like “Lululemon Like New,” encouraging customers to buy and sell pre-loved items. Small retailers can also leverage this trend by offering like-new, resold items at promotional discounts. Whether through an online storefront or an in-store “resale clearance” rack, small retailers should be data-driven and listen to their customers to find the right mix of used and new products.
Section 2: TikTok and Live Video Shopping Take Center Stage
The fusion of social media and e-commerce will reach new heights, particularly through platforms like TikTok. TikTok shopping is set to transform the social channel into a modern-day home shopping channel, presenting exciting opportunities for e-commerce this holiday season and beyond.
TikTok’s shopping solution, if launched similarly to China, will go beyond just product promotion and encompass shipping and logistics, making it more comparable to Amazon’s business model than Meta’s. Live video shopping will become a powerful tool for product discovery, allowing retailers and influencers to engage audiences in real-time, showcasing products, and offering exclusive deals.
Section 3: A Paradigm Shift in Returns and In-Person Shopping
Returns have become a significant challenge for businesses, with 16.5% of U.S. purchases resulting in returns. To address this, retailers may start implementing restocking fees to encourage responsible purchasing behavior and reduce the costs associated with processing returns.
Conscious buying habits are driving more consumers to move from online purchases to in-store shopping. In fact, a survey from PwC shows that 40% of global consumers express their intention to increase in-person shopping due to high delivery costs. To adapt, big box stores are adopting a multichannel approach, pushing the in-person experience alongside their online presence.
Section 4: Bespoke Goods and Local Shopping Flourish
Personalization is becoming increasingly important in the e-commerce landscape. Platforms like Etsy will shine as consumers seek personalized options and one-of-a-kind goods. Shopping local and supporting small businesses will also gain momentum, fostering a sense of community and offering unique, handcrafted products.
Section 5: Supply, Fulfillment, and Last-Minute Shopping Dynamics
Supply chain and fulfillment efficiency will be in the spotlight as retailers face challenges during the holiday season. The competition between in-person shopping and last-minute e-commerce purchases will intensify as consumers seek convenient and timely solutions for their holiday needs.
E-commerce players must prioritize logistics optimization and invest in technologies like automation and AI-driven inventory management to streamline operations and compete with the immediacy of physical retail. Small retailers can leverage existing inventory management tools scaled for their business size and adopt lean production and distribution methodologies to meet customer demands.
Section 6: Elevating Experiences via AI-Driven Customer Engagement
AI-driven customer engagement tools will play a pivotal role in transforming the retail industry. Seamless integration of AI solutions will enable businesses to respond faster to changing customer needs. From instant responses to personalized product recommendations, AI will enhance the overall customer experience and provide valuable insights into consumer preferences and behaviors.
By staying informed about these retail trends and leveraging the power of technology, small retailers can position themselves for success in the ever-changing e-commerce market. Adapting to these trends and focusing on being customer-centric will be crucial for sustainable growth in the years to come.