The 12 key omnichannel retail trends of 2023

omnichannel retail trends 2023

Research shows that 90% of customers expect brands to have an online presence, even though 81% of shoppers in the US are comfortable in brick-and-mortar stores again. Despite the post-Covid shopping habits, keeping the shopping experience consistent both online and in person helps brands build trust with their shoppers, and should be a top priority for every retailer.

Three-quarters of shoppers say they want consistency across all channels when working with a brand, and the most effective way to achieve that consistency is to stay ahead of the game with a top-notch Omnichannel strategy. In this article, we have collected the 12 key omnichannel retail trends of 2023 to help your brand nurture relationships, build brand loyalty and achieve higher revenue in the long term.

What does omnichannel mean in retail? 

The term “omnichannel” in retail is a customer engagement strategy that involves communicating either personalized or bulk messages to customers through several different channels. These channels — which can include physical interactions, online interactions, social media content, emails, and more — serve as separate touchpoints that capture customer behavior across the entire conversion funnel.

Omnichannel customer engagement builds a unified customer journey and a holistic buyer profile that is based on actionable data, patterns, and habits. By monitoring these data, retailers can build meaningful, personalized interactions with their audiences and offer optimal customer satisfaction, while unlocking higher revenues through brand loyalty.

What are the three key elements of omnichannel retailing? 

Understanding and implementing omnichannel retail trends involves three key elements: creating a strong customer experience, increasing customization options, and optimizing the supply chain. Creating a balance between these three elements is key to improving omnichannel retailing and improving company profits. You can use the same strategies you use to measure customer engagement to help you measure the success of these three elements and determine where to focus your energies in the future.

Why are omnichannel retail trends focusing on delivering the ultimate customer experience?

More than two-thirds (78%) of customers prefer omnichannel customer engagement strategies that help them connect with their favorite brands. Focusing on customer experience helps turn one-time customers into loyal, repeat customers, improving a retailer’s conversion and retention rates. As a result, focusing on customer experience extends your customer’s lifetime value (CLV). Considering the fact that attracting a new customer costs six to seven times as much money as maintaining a current customer, it’s easy to see why improving the customer experience and increasing your CLV matters to top omnichannel retailers. 

The 12 latest omnichannel trends in retail for 2023

Discovering the top omnichannel retail trends 2023 has to offer involves analyzing the current omnichannel trends, along with some predictive analysis regarding the future of omnichannel retailing.

We’ve compiled a list of the latest omnichannel retail trends 2023 is expected to embrace, separated into the three main elements we discussed: customer experience, customization, and supply chain improvements. For each trend, we explain the retail trend and omnichannel retailing examples of companies that got this strategy right in 2022.

Customer journey comes many steps forward to omnichannel

Some of the key omnichannel retail trends 2023 offers relate to an increased awareness of the customer journey and how the different touchpoints between customers and companies impact that journey. By improving each touchpoint, companies can provide the type of customer experience that leads to improved loyalty and an increased CLV.

Omnichannel Retail Trend #1: AR/VR Shopping combined with a brick-and-mortar storefront

With 81% of shoppers now returning, at least some of the time, to shopping in person, improving brick-and-mortar touchpoints is now just as important as improving online touchpoints. 

Artificial reality and virtual reality provide an avenue for melding the online and brick-and-mortar experiences, making the shopping journey feel the same regardless of how customers choose to interact with your brand. 

Benefits for a retailer

Augmented reality in physical storefronts helps customers make sense of busy shelves and quickly find the products they’re looking for. It’s a way of taking the sorting options available in online stores and providing that same convenience to in-person shoppers. Benefits include:

  • Improving convenience for customers
  • Providing the best shopping experience
  • Increasing the ability for customers to answer their own questions about products
  • Increasing customer satisfaction with the products they purchase

Promising startups/companies using this trend

Zara: The clothing store Zara made headlines in April when they ditched their physical mannequins in favor of an AR app that showcased real-life models wearing their clothes. 

Chanel: Makeup brand Chanel implemented the use of virtual reality when they introduced their Lipscanner app, which matches a user’s lip and skin shades to actual models to help them find the perfect hues. 

Omnichannel Retail Trend #2: Virtual fitting rooms

Virtual fitting rooms can be used both online and in-person to allow customers to visualize how a piece of clothing would look on their body without ever stepping foot in a fitting room. This matters since 70% of online clothing returns were due to a poor fit. 

Benefits for a retailer

  • Fewer returns on clothing
  • Less time spent re-hanging clothes that customers wanted to try on or tried and didn’t fit them
  • No need to have a person staffing the dressing room
  • Reduced chance of clothing being stolen from the dressing room
  • Improved chances that customers felt their needs were met in-store and online

Promising startups/companies using this trend

Walmart’s “Be Your Own Model” Tool: Walmart recently rolled out a virtual dressing room that uses algorithms and topographical maps to accurately represent their clothing pieces’ appearance on individual body types. Users can be their own models for 270,000 different articles of clothing across their private brands and selected national brands. 

Amazon’s Virtual Try-On: Amazon rolled out the VirtualTryOn program, which allows users to try on shoes and visualize them at every angle before making a purchase. Users select the VirtualTryOn app on their phone and then point it at their feet, and they will receive an augmented reality view of what shoes would look like on them before ever making a purchase. 

Omnichannel Retail Trend #3: Contactless shopping

Contactless shopping uses RFID technology to tag all items in a brick-and-mortar store. When customers leave the store with the items, their account is automatically charged. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Reduces shoplifting and enables hygiene regulations
  • Eliminates the need to pay for check-out attendants

Promising startups/companies using this trend

Amazon Go/Amazon Fresh: Amazon has opened several small grocery stores that use contactless shopping technology, allowing customers to scan their phones on the way in and then walk out of the store without checking out. RFID technology ensures customers are only charged for the items they leave with. 

Omnichannel Retail Trend #4: Buy Online, Pick up In-store (BOPIS)

A buy online, pick up in-store shopping model expedites the shopping process for buyers and ensures that the items they’re looking for are in stock before going to the store. If the item isn’t in stock, your store can wait until it comes in, set it aside, and then notify the customer that their purchase is available for in-store pickup. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Improved customer satisfaction because customers know that the items they’re looking for are available and their order is being tracked
  • Increased traffic in the store, with the potential for impulse shopping when customers arrive at the store
  • Reduced shipping costs
  • Better inventory management

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • Kohls
  • Lowes
  • Nordstrom
  • Walmart

Omnichannel Retail Trend #5: Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) 

A buy now, pay later (BNPL) model splits the cost of large purchases into manageable chunks and allows your customers to pay in installments. It operates on the same model as a loan. As long as customers pay on time, their payments stay the same, and they can continue using the item they purchased. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Encourages customers to buy higher quality goods
  • Spreads out customer spending
  • Makes your products accessible to a wider range of customers

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • Klarna
  • Afterpay
  • Affirm

Omnichannel Retail Trend #6: Same-day delivery 

As the name suggests, same-day delivery allows customers to order and have the items delivered to their homes on the same day. This works because the retailers are prepared to ship the items out shortly after customers make a purchase.

Benefits for Retailer

  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales
  • Fewer barriers to the purchase decision
  • Products spend less time lingering on shelves

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • Amazon
  • Hannaford

Omnichannel Retail Trend #7: Digital wallets

Digital wallets secure payment information on customers’ smartphones and allow them to pay by tapping their phones against a payment screen. These touchless payment options are cleaner, since they don’t require people to touch a lot of buttons that other people have already touched, and more secure than other payment options. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Reduce the time it takes to process transactions
  • Reduce cart abandonment due to forgotten wallets
  • Lower fraud risks

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Wallet
  • Samsung Pay

Customer experiences improve through personalization

Studies consistently show that customers respond well to personalized omnichannel shopping experiences. Many future retail trends focus on this customization which, today, goes far beyond using a mail merge to send emails addressed to individual customers. Companies that use strong personalization software can expect to see up to a 15% increase in profits

Omnichannel Retail Trend #8: Connected data

Connected data means using different forms of data collection to change how you market your products or interact with customers. It takes information from one part of your retail business and uses that information to impact a different aspect of your retail chain. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Customers prefer doing business with companies that personalize their experience
  • Get more accurate data about your audience
  • Improve the experience your customers have with your brand

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • Nordstrom tracks pins on Pinterest to see what items are trending and then promotes those unique products in brick-and-mortar stores. 
  • Rebecca Minkoff allows customers to share their phone numbers when they enter a store. Then, they can get a drink and relax while they wait for fitting rooms to become available, and will receive a text message when a fitting room is ready for them. Rebecca Minkoff also tracks customers through stores and uses the information to improve its marketing

Omnichannel Retail Trend #9: Chatbots 

Automated chatbots allow customers to self-service problems with your company before reaching out to speak with a representative. AI helps chatbots provide accurate, well-communicated answers to customers who use self-service options. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Improved customer service
  • Reduce workload to your customer service department
  • Spend less money on customer service
  • Monitor customer behavior and problems for improved personalization

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • Spotify’s Facebook messenger app does more than just provide customer service. It will also make recommendations about the best music to listen to based on your mood, previous listening history, and current activities. 
  • Sephora’s chatbot acts as a personal assistant. In addition to helping you navigate the store, it can also bring you to makeup tutorials and provide product reviews when you’re shopping. 

Omnichannel Retail Trend #10: Voice Commerce

Voice commerce uses voice recognition software to allow people to shop online using only their voices. Shoppers can even make purchases while driving without ever looking at their keyboards. The more customers use voice commerce, the more the AI software learns to understand different speech patterns. As a result, voice commerce becomes increasingly helpful and accurate over time. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Increased accessibility for shoppers
  • More convenient ways to shop
  • Become the go-to retailer for customers on the go

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • Blutag is a company that works with retailers to allow them to enable voice commerce for their customers. 
  • Amazon’s Alexa works through voice commands. Retailers can even sell their items on Amazon and benefit from Alexa if they’re not ready to make the jump to offering voice commerce options on their own websites. 

The supply chain is optimized even more

Other omnichannel retail trends in 2023 rely on managing the supply chain. Covid-19 restrictions and the current political climate have put a serious strain on supply chains, and it’s no longer just fast-moving consumer goods that companies are struggling to keep in stock. Meanwhile, consumers continue to expect increased convenience from the brands they work with, and 83% of customers admit that this convenience is more important to them today than it was five years ago.

Omnichannel Retail Trend #11: Product Information Management (PIM)

Product information management (PIM) is all about knowing how to store information about your products and services for marketing and communication purposes. Having a strong PIM system in place enables you to draw on that information later on and communicate consistently with your customers and other members of your team. 

Benefits for Retailer

  • Ensures consistent communication about your product information across all channels
  • Enables you to quickly put your product in other stores or marketplaces and have all the assets you need ready to go
  • Provides ready-to-go product images and descriptions for marketing teams

Promising startups/companies using this trend

  • inRiver
  • Contentserv
  • Orckestra

Omnichannel Retail Trend #12: Sustainability of the supply chain

One of the greatest barriers to customer satisfaction in the past couple of years has been the supply chain. As Covid causes unexpected closures on a global level, it can be difficult for companies to predict how long it will take to receive products they’ve ordered. These poor prediction times lead to delays for customers, which can reduce customer trust in companies. 

To combat this problem, retailers need to be more careful about their supply chain and invest in suppliers with a reputation for reliability. Sustainable supply chains also prioritize human rights, fair labor practices, and environmental progress.

Benefits for Retailer

  • Build trust with your customers
  • Support sustainable programs
  • Improve the quality of the products you produce

Promising startups/companies using this trend

UPS: Throughout the past few years, UPS has ditched its high-carbon trucks in favor of trucks that run on liquefied natural gas in an effort to improve the environmental sustainability of its supply chain.

More trends & resources retailers should check out

Now that you have an answer to the question, “What are the latest trends in retail?” and you understand some of the top omnichannel retail trends 2023 can expect to see, you can begin developing your 2023 marketing strategy. Here are a few more articles you should consider reading to enhance your understanding of 2023 marketing trends: 

Omnichannel is the future of retail and the key to driving engagement in 2023

Now that you understand why omnichannel is the future of retail, the next step is to determine how best to use your new understanding of omnichannel retail trends in 2023 to drive engagement with your customers. We’ve provided as much information and actionable items as possible. Now, the only limit to your success is your ability to prioritize what your business needs to focus on, pick the best partners to implement your strategies with, and put your plan into place.

What matters most is how well your business uses the knowledge and inspiration of omnichannel trends to create a strong omnichannel marketing plan for the upcoming year. Therefore, teaming up with a powerful omnichannel customer engagement provider is the first step toward a cutting-edge strategy that will maximize your brand’s ROI. Book a demo today with ContactPigeon’s customer engagement experts and unlock your omnichannel potential with a personalized presentation designed for your industry.

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