There’s no shortage of trends to track in retail. Every year, analysts, experts and thought leaders put on their thinking caps and ponder what the future will hold for the industry—and 2022 is no exception. We’ve combed through the insights from a series of trusted sources from around the web and key industry events to double click into the trends we think will make a huge splash this year.
Sustainability can encompass many things, which means there are so many ways for brands and retailers to embrace it and make a positive impact on the world. Some fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s are encouraging consumers to reuse and recycle worn out goods, while the Patagonias of the world are offering repair services in stores. Other companies like The RealReal and Rebag have built circular business models that encourage customers to sell, shop and resell goods.
We’ve heard more companies invest heavily in sustainability innovation and believe this will be a powerful area of differentiation over the next year. That’s why at the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, we’ll have several sessions to showcase the leaders in this space who will offer tactical tips and lessons for their peers.
2. The Metaverse
The pandemic made virtual working and learning mainstream. While it was a learning curve for some, many professionals have realized the benefits of a digital workplace and, in turn, realized the potential of the metaverse. Sure, like sustainability, the metaverse is a loaded topic with a lot of adjacent trends, such as gaming and NFTs.
There is no clear playbook for success, largely because this space is evolving so rapidly and all of the use cases are so incredibly different. That’s why we’ll be hitting on the metaverse across in both our Retail Innovation Summit and Internet Retailer programs. We realize that the power of the metaverse rests in the ability to converge digital and physical experiences, and that NFTs, virtual real estate and digital stores all have their place in the world of retail. Our goal is to showcase how brands across different categories are embracing them to meet specific objectives and forge their shopper and employee communities.
3. ‘Phygital’ Experiences
Speaking of convergence, we know that digital is becoming more of a source of inspiration and engagement for physical stores. We’ve seen some incredible new tools and platforms designed to support contactless commerce, community engagement and even product up-sells inside stores. And we believe we’ll see even more traction in this space moving forward, especially now that Amazon is making waves with its apparel store concept.
We believe there are so many examples of intentional store innovation and there are brands doing creative things to blend their digital and physical spaces. The second day of our Design:Retail conference will dig into the trends and real-life examples that will bring physical retail to an entirely new level.
4. Company Culture
How many times do you see the phrase “the Great Resignation” in a single day? I’m guessing a lot of times. It makes sense: the past two years have turned our personal and professional worlds upside down; the lines between work and play are blurring; and parents and caretakers in particular are facing incredible pressure on the daily. That’s why more than ever, people are asking critical questions of the companies for which they work. Does this company align with my values? Do I feel like I’m progressing and reaching my personal goals? Do I feel empowered and supported by my manager? There are so many questions that swirl around our minds…and that’s a good thing!
Executive leaders should not feel confident with the status-quo. They shouldn’t be OK doing the same old thing day in and day out—especially if they’re not speaking with their employees to validate this stagnation. Rather, they should constantly be in tune with the wants, needs and concerns of their employees. They should be focused on creating ethical, equitable and inclusive cultures that encourage collaboration and progression. We heard from many members of our community just how critical company culture is, and how focusing on the internal workings of your business can ultimately impact the way you go to market as a customer-centric organization. That’s why we developed an entire track in our Retail Innovation Summit dedicated to the issues that are driving progressive company cultures today.
Join us May 10-12 at the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, where we’ll dig into these and other hot-button trends. Connect with some of the industry’s most innovative leaders and solution providers to see what the future of retail has in store!