Digital products and services are trendy. And consumers are also increasingly digital. However, the logistics and retail sectors often still lag behind. Seven important trends for 2023
Logistics companies and retailers rarely work proactively on new solutions or test innovative technologies. Confirm one German Logistics Association Survey and on Digitalization Index 2022 of the Federal Ministry of Economics. To continue to be successful, the retail and logistics industry must become more digital. The following seven predictions that marketers need to know in 2023 show this.
1. Constant visibility of the retailer
The importance of “visibility” will continue to grow and is not limited to product in transit, but also to products and inventory in the warehouse. With continued market volatility, shippers must be able to respond to existing disruptions in near real time. According to a new study by Manhattan Associates, only three percent of retailers in Germany believe they have a 100 percent accurate overview of their entire inventory – this applies to goods in stores, in the warehouse and in transit. “Retailers will have to actively work on this this year,” says Markus Lohmann, sales director Germany at Manhattan Associates. “Knowing exactly where inventory is at any given moment in time is critical to their success.”
2. Retailers embrace automation and robotics
As labor continues to be a major issue for companies around the world, not least in warehouses, the spread of automation and robotics will accelerate. It cannot be assumed that robots will replace humans in key positions in the supply chain. But more progress in human-machine collaboration can be expected as more robots are developed to assist humans by taking over routine tasks.
3. Adapt to more environmentally conscious consumers
Product sourcing and sustainability information will become the new norm this year. In 2022, nearly half (49 percent) of consumers surveyed by Manhattan Associates as part of their Omnichannel Retail study said environmental or sustainability considerations played an important or most important role in deciding where and from whom shopping. “We expect that number to increase significantly.” Retailers need to take proactive steps to be more transparent about their own end-to-end product offering – including the supply chain networks that connect everything,” explains Markus Lohmann.
Many brands have already launched sustainability and recycled materials initiatives in the past year, including programs to recycle used goods, such as Nike’s sustainable running series, made from plastic waste and recycled materials. With increasing consumer interest, 2023 will place more emphasis and boost sustainability initiatives in the retail ecosystem.
4. Use social platforms and social commerce
One in five consumers in Germany wants to shop and pay via social media with Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook Pay. The business is expanding its reach to a younger audience by using social media platforms such as TikTok and Douyin as sales channels in addition to traditional marketplaces such as Amazon and Zalando. The spread of various payment and social shopping platforms will accelerate in 2023.
The metaverse merges physical and virtual worlds to create dynamic new ways for humans to interact. Many brands such as Nike, Vans, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Forever 21 have already created virtual worlds on Roblox (an online multiplayer platform) where users can interact with their products. According to a study by Accenture, social commerce will triple globally to $1.2 trillion by 2025. Therefore, 2023 could be the year of “social commerce” as more and more retailers create immersive shopping experiences .
5. Retailers: Modernization of stores as a top priority
The traditional store and its surface function will experience a rebirth this year: they will become multifunctional spaces that will no longer be used only for display and sales, but also for micro-fulfillment, returns and as customer service centers. Expect stores to handle a larger portion of online returns. As return rates increase overall, retailers will also increase fees or shipping costs for returning items purchased online, causing customers to turn to brick-and-mortar stores for those returns.
It can also be assumed that Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) will continue to increase as a fulfillment method. Retailers are optimizing their logistics costs to maintain online sales margins. So they will find ways to boost BOPIS. Hoping to reduce overall shipping costs while increasing store footfall, they will either pass on shipping costs or give discounts to BOPIS.
6. Cooperation as the key to success
The more nimble and agile the supply chain, the more integration with wider systems will be required. This allows companies to leverage their partners’ competencies as part of a broader, comprehensive portfolio. Instead of individual competing companies, this year will see more competition between competing systems in terms of technology, products and go-to-market strategies.
7. The payments landscape is evolving
Interest in cashless payment options and e-wallets will continue this year. It will be critical for businesses to adopt these new technologies in their stores and online systems. And use them if they want to keep up with increasingly digitally savvy consumers. As the cost of living crisis hits this year, retailers will be looking to offer their customers more flexible payment options. Therefore, it can be expected that the “buy now, pay later” feature will continue to grow strongly. (sg)