With the start of 2023, brands and retailers are setting new milestones and benchmarks or looking to improve existing processes.
We’ve identified ten trends that will be instrumental in boosting on-site product discovery and eCommerce revenues, supporting demand forecasting, and increasing retailers’ bottom lines.
Keep these tips top of mind to amplify brand loyalty, personalize the customer journey, and create experiential and meaningful interactions with shoppers all year long.
Read about the trends in detail in the eBook here.
1. Brands That Use Visual AI Will Win in Product Discovery
AI-powered recommendation engines are revolutionizing how products are personalized, presented, and experienced by customers as part of their purchase decisions. Despite inflationary market conditions and the potential of a recession in 2023, visual search based on artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and personalization will continue to be in high demand in the coming year.
2. Diversified Inventory Management Strategies
Multichannel inventory management helps brands and retailers to diversify where and how their stock is being sold. Visual AI tools and automated product tagging are proven methods to efficiently segment products and merchandise online.
By leveraging AI and automation, brands will be better equipped to understand how inventory is moving, take the information to plan for next season, and set up a strategy for better sell-through rates.
3. The Push for Paid Returns
In 2022, consumers returned more than $816 billion worth of retail merchandise purchases. The average rate of return remained flat at 16.5% in 2022 compared with 16.6% the year before.
Accurate product descriptions powered by visual AI and automated product tags are technologies that brands and retailers should leverage to help customers better visualize products online, in addition to 360-degree videos, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR).
4. More Brands Will Adopt Sustainability Models
Many brands and retailers are turning to advanced technology to support their sustainability strategies. AI-powered tags inform demand forecasting for merchandising teams and can help to limit overstock and reduce waste.
In effect, sustainability models can leverage visual AI, and the vast customer data it produces, to improve supply chain efficiency and support circular fashion.
5. VIP Clienteling Backed by Visual AI
More and more retailers and D2C brands are embracing AI technologies and embedding them into their eCommerce operations. Building a trustworthy customer experience is linked to the use of advanced eCommerce technology that allows customers to find, examine, and easily compare products.
VIP consultations can be offered online or in-store, but with a single view of each shopper’s interactions with your brand and products, you can create a hyper-personalized and one-of-a-kind shopping experience.
6. Installment Plans Are Here to Stay
During Black Friday 2022, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payments — including Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, and Sezzle — rose 78% compared with the previous week.
Inspiration is key during the shopping journey. Even if people don’t have the means right now, they’ll still commit to paying later for an item they love.
7. The New Omnichannel Puts The Focus on Customers
As the nature of shopping continues to evolve, the time has come to redefine what it means to be omnichannel. But despite its name, omnichannel isn’t really about channels, it’s about the customer.
The next frontier in AI is driving better experiential interactions, both in the digital world with visual search and in the physical world with digital tools that are used in-store, such as smart mirrors and clienteling apps.
8. Automated Processes to Power Better Forecasting
By leaning into customer-driven product descriptions, AI tagging enables brands to understand not only what consumers are buying but why.
These deep insights reduce the potential of overstock and maximize retailers’ bottom lines by predicting and aligning with what shoppers are likely to buy ahead of time.
9. Real Social Media Continues to Gain Momentum
Social media users are embracing real social experiences that focus on true connection, collaboration, and inclusivity. According to Gander, an eCommerce tech provider, consumers are now looking for more human content from brands.
Many brands are seeing lifts in conversation and time spent on their sites due to the integration of user-generated content (UGC) videos on product pages.
10. Big Opportunities Lie in the Metaverse
As consumers continue to navigate connected digital worlds, eCommerce’s move to the metaverse will become inevitable. Brands can create connected experiences for customers through smart mirrors, which enable shoppers to interact with products by tapping the screen to get a closer look, read product information, care instructions, and find out if their size is in stock.
In the upcoming year, brands and retailers can effectively improve their eCommerce performance in several ways — from AI and NLP technologies and diversified inventory management to sustainability measures and reimagined omnichannel models.
Read about the trends in detail in the eBook here.