In the retail industry of 2023, there is a dual movement of "innovative experiences" and a "return to tradition." For example, as consumers return to physical stores, Augmented Reality (AR) is expected to help bridge the gap between the real and digital worlds.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released its annual forecast, predicting a 4% to 6% growth in retail sales in 2023. Overall, NRF estimates that retail sales for the year will range from $51.3 trillion to $52.3 trillion.
After several years of rapid development in e-commerce, in-store shopping is making a comeback. More Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands, such as Warby Parker and Allbirds in 2022, are opening physical stores. Additionally, dollar stores, discount stores, and fast fashion brands are expanding offline in the United States. For instance, Five Below has nearly 1200 stores in the U.S., Dollarama has 1400+ stores in sparsely populated Canada, and Dollar Tree has a staggering 16,000+ stores in North America. Dollar General recently announced plans to open 1050 new stores this year, marking its most significant expansion in a single year.
Large department stores like Macy's and Bloomingdale’s are transforming from large downtown malls into smaller stores that are more conducive to casual exploration by consumers.
Customers are seeking a better, cheaper, faster, and more seamless shopping journey. Developers, property owners, and retailers must reconsider strategies to create enticing shopping experiences in malls, shopping areas, or stores. This includes simple and fast displays, plain packaging, free-choice products, self-checkout, eliminating the need for waiting and queuing, providing consumers with a more convenient and comfortable shopping experience. Simultaneously, efforts to reduce labor costs, enhance store operational efficiency, and strengthen competitiveness are crucial.
In today's diverse and decentralized consumer landscape, many retail practitioners in the midst of the "winter" are left with simple choices: either keep up or face elimination.