The rise of omnichannel retail has transformed the vertical, with over half of retailers adopting tools that help them sell in more than one channel. In 2023, consumer expectations and in-store and online shopping experiences will continue to evolve. As the following four trends gain traction, retailers should prioritise them over the next year.

1. Digital call-to-actions

Brands still spend a lot of money on print ads. However, digital interactions enable retailers to connect with customers. QR codes bridge the gap between the virtual and physical shopping experience.

Retailers can link QR codes directly to their website’s landing page to give details about the products showcased in their ads. Brands can even include more engaging content like video clips or interactive brochures. Deploying QR codes boosts calls to action (CTA) and elevates the customer experience.

2. First-party data 

Although 85% of consumers want brands to only use first-party data, over 80% of companies still rely on third-party cookies. Retailers need to make a change — and soon. Firefox and Safari have already blocked access to third-party cookies, and Google Chrome will do the same in 2023. 

The soon-to-be-phased-out third-party data doesn’t allow brands to build direct customer relationships. Consumers are much more aware of how companies use their data and expect more robust privacy protection. Brands embracing first-party data build trust, enhance personalisation, and develop deeper customer connections. 

With first-party data, retailers gain and use insights into customers’ preferences to curate a personalised shopping experience. To obtain first-party data, retailers can put QR codes on product packaging, inviting consumers to scan it after purchase and requesting email addresses to send coupons, offers and other targeted information. Adding QR codes to marketing campaigns also allows revenue teams to analyse and track the number of scans to more accurately measure campaign success. 

3. Geofencing

Proximity marketing, like geofencing, gives retailers a leg up on the competition. This marketing strategy combines the reach of mobile devices with location-based technology to reach customers at the right place and time.

When retailers create a geofence around their stores’ perimeters, customers receive location-based alerts (if they’ve opted-in for push notifications) whenever they enter the designated area. Geofencing is a cost-effective way for retailers to court customers without having to purchase radio, TV or magazine ads. Retailers also build loyalty with personalised messages and offers that make customers want to drop in and shop at their stores. 

4. Augmented reality 

Augmented reality (AR) elevates the retailer shopping experience for products like furniture and wall paint not easily tested within store premises. IKEA already experiments with AR technology. The furniture retail giant’s app allows customers to digitally add furniture to their existing room to see how it looks in their homes. Shoppers can verify whether certain pieces are the right fit for their space virtually. Gone is the hassle of buying, assembling and disassembling items that didn’t work after all.

By 2025, nearly 75% of people and almost all smartphone users will use AR regularly. Since consumers unlock most AR experiences with their smartphones, the next logical step for brands includes combining AR with QR codes. Just one quick scan of a QR code opens the door to these immersive experiences. AR QR codes allow retailers to offer their customers virtual try-ons, games and product visualisation in the real world. This pairing elevates consumer engagement and their shopping experience. 

Retailers have three goals: generating sales and establishing — and maintaining — their brand identity. To continue growing and achieving those goals requires keeping up with modern technologies. Retailers must invest in emerging digital trends designed to attract new customers and website visitors in 2023. 

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