Fast Forward

Matt Hildon, Retail Portfolio Director at global digital transformation consultancy Kin + Carta, looks at what 2024 will have in store for the retail sector

a row of colourful coats on a rack in a shop window Loyalty schemes will become the differentiator for retailers in 2024. Budgets will be increasingly focused on getting people into their loyalty ecosystems, which will in turn see brands start to focus their spend on retention of customers via highly personalised offers, rather than spending advertising money often at a high CPA.

AI Technology is now enabling customers to change the way they speak to retailers online, so 2024 needs to be the year when brands up their use of conversational commerce tactics. We will see a shift to customers using natural conversational language when searching for answers online, a great example of this is in the DIY sector. Rather than searching 'patios', consumers are instead describing the challenge: 'I'm looking to build a patio on top of my existing lawn. It's approx 10m square and I want it to have a beige look to it when I'm finished.' Therefore, expect to see more retailers in the coming year exploit more intelligent discovery tools to allow customers to find the perfect products, the combination of products to solve a problem or the inspirational unknown.

GenAI has unlocked a new level of personalisation capability to retailers. Offerings such as 'Shop the look', virtual try-ons, and recommendations to blending physical and digital experiences for the shopper can all be enhanced by GenAI. It is a buzz topic, so naturally, there is a lot of noise as brands try to understand the technology's potential for their business. I also think retailer demands will dictate a lot of the supply over the coming year. Creativity is being unlocked at stakeholder level as they better understand GenAI's potential and what it could mean for them. It's down to the market to be reactive to these demands to help brands with specific bespoke use cases and business needs, tweaking the tech as we progress.

It's no longer enough for retailers to have a sustainability strategy that's incorporated into the day-to-day. Consumers are assessing what matters to them most and perceived value, and basing their buying decisions on this. And those decisions are going beyond considering convenience and cost, but showing increasing loyalty to retailers who advocate and implement sustainability innovation throughout the whole product lifecycle, from supply chain to resale. In 2024, retailers will be increasingly turning to technology as the enabler and using data to become more effective and eliminate waste.


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