Each January the National Retail Federation (NRF) hosts their ‘Big Show’ to showcase emerging trends that consumers and retailers can expect to see and experience in the year ahead. At this year’s event, the news was a mixed shopping bag of innovation, new and lingering challenges and the return of a favorite American pastime: in-person shopping.
Here’s a look at four key takeaways from this year’s show:
Robots and Kiosks and AI Oh My!
This year’s NRF looked a lot different than your father’s version with robots, drones and self-serve check-out kiosks at seemingly every turn. In 2022, retailers made big strides in applying artificial intelligence in ways that make it easier for consumers to find the right products, to more securely make purchases and, of course, enable robots to make deliveries to your home. This movement will only increase in the year ahead.
Another Year of Supply Chain Uncertainty as Retailers ‘Re-Boot’
While many retailers found a way to navigate the supply chain this past holiday season – adopting better strategies for inventory, discounting and visibility – a lot of uncertainty still remains when it comes to factors outside of their control such as COVID outbreaks in China and striking port workers around the world. With this in-mind, more are using 2023 to re-build, re-design and re-boot their supply chains to minimize any negative impact when the next disruption occurs.
Shoplifting and Online Fraud is on the Rise
During 2022, brick-and-mortar retailers saw such an alarming increase in shoplifting that many started to padlock certain merchandise. Online there was also a huge uptick in fraud ranging from international crime rings targeting retailers and their customers to individuals engaging in consumer abuse – the act of claiming a package never arrived or arrived damaged. A full report on this growing concern can be viewed here.
‘Old School’ Shopping is Back – But with a Modern Twist
Now that the pandemic is over – knock on wood – an increasing number of consumers are turning off their laptops and heading back to the store. And when they arrive, they’re finding new and engaging elements that are designed to keep them there – from tech-enabled kiosks that simplify product search to in-store sampling and even climbing walls and outdoor tracks.