As economic challenges continue into 2024, retailers will be expected to evolve how they maintain relationships with customers. This will centre around prioritising consumer preferences, including leveraging mobile as a primary touchpoint, creating an omnichannel retail strategy that accommodates diverse consumer needs and implementing subscription models to help customers pay for goods. Here are my predictions for how these strategies will shape next year’s shopping habits – and how businesses can optimise their digital assets to stay ahead of the curve.
Omnichannel will meet the needs of today’s customers
Because some consumers may prefer traditional in-store shopping, in 2024, retailers must develop and enhance their omnichannel retail strategy. An omnichannel retail strategy is a method that helps create a seamless shopping experience for all customers and retailers can achieve this by providing a consistent, coordinated customer experience (CX) across every channel through which they sell products.
For example, retailers can show commitment to CX and consumer preferences by providing offers on items that have been left in virtual baskets or pre-empting the repeat purchase of essentials (based on when a customer last bought them). This not only helps conversion by pushing customers towards a purchase decision but also builds loyalty with customers, 51% of digital leaders say customers want personalisation when searching for products or services, 48% say customers want personalisation when managing current orders or returns and 55% say customers want personalisation with self-service tools, according to Quantum Metric’s recent Benchmark Report. However, to be truly omnichannel, personalisation must also be present in physical stores. Yet, for genuine omnichannel integration, personalisation needs to extend into brick-and-mortar stores. Providing in-person experiences, like personalised appointments with a dedicated shopper, becomes a key element for brands to captivate each customer.
To attract and entice customers, retailers must also revaluate and enhance their existing loyalty programs. When people’s budgets are tightened, their shopping habits change. A long-term solution to alleviating some of the effects of inflation can be provided by retailers that offer rewards apps that provide regular or new customers discounts on products (coupons or cashback rewards). Retailers must recognise that loyalty programs are becoming less about gathering data for marketing purposes and more about building customer loyalty if they want to succeed.
An app that gives customers weekly rewards based on the things they buy is a great way to personalise CX and raise Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). 60% of digital leaders will offer new services including new subscription options in 2024. In addition to this, 31% say the primary goal of a loyalty program is to engage the most loyal customers.
Mobile will change the customer journey
With social media ads and features like live shopping reshaping brand-consumer interactions, as reported by 66% of digital leaders, mobile will become the first touchpoint in 2024. Quantum Metric’s recent Benchmark Report revealed that 48% of leaders say social media ads have grown mobile traffic and conversions in the last year. Furthermore, 20% attribute this growth to live shopping while 38% say social media will play a pivotal role in driving mobile adoption.
Next year, retailers will harness their mobile apps to provide a seamless path to purchase, personalised targeting, and simplified tracking. This approach aims not only to enhance the customer experience but also to foster loyalty by showing an understanding of customers’ wants and needs, encouraging continued engagement post-purchase.
Personalisation will become a priority investment
In 2024, retailers will prioritise more personalised experiences at every step of the customer experience, from browsing – to post-purchase support. Retailers are starting to tailor homepages their homepage to align with customers’ recent behaviour. Subscriptions are set to rise, along with customised experiences. When budgets are tight, these personalised approaches are often more effective than general sales or deals.
Value doesn’t just mean offering top-notch products at competitive prices. In 2024, retailers must offer a bespoke, seamless experience. They must observe shifts in consumer expectations and look to incorporate a diverse range of options at every touchpoint, from the discovery phase right through to the final checkout.