5 must-watch trends in retail small businesses for 2024

Editorial Team

6 min read
Person making monthly subscription box selection

Looking to get ahead of 2024 trends in retail? This concise guide can help you get a jumpstart on the new year. Lots of retail trends have emerged over the last few years, and some have proven to be lasting shifts in consumer preferences. And while some retail industry trends are new this year, certain themes—like convenience, flexibility, and sustainability—never go out of style.

Meeting customer demands can also mean adding new tools to your business tech stack to help you serve your customers whenever, wherever, and however they want to shop. Take a look at these top retail trends for 2024.

Trend #1: Continued growth for subscription-based payment models 

Amazon pioneered the subscription business model with Amazon Prime, but subscription brands have seen explosive growth over the past few years. Juniper Research predicts that subscription revenue for physical consumer goods will reach $263 billion by 2025. Forbes estimates the global subscription eCommerce market to grow to $904.2 billion–yes, that’s nearly a trillion dollars!–by 2026, noting: “Subscription boxes, digital content subscriptions, and service subscriptions provide an affordable way for consumers to access what they want when they want it.” 

Businesses that offer subscriptions can see an uptick in the return customers rather than losing them to competitors. Subscriptions are also an easy way to keep  your cash flowing and ensure you have consistent income each month. What’s more, offering a subscription option via Clover is simple: Loyalzoo’s Subscriptions, Memberships & Card-on-File app, for instance, integrates with your Clover account with no monthly fee

READ: How to launch a subscription-based service for your small business

Trend #2: Omnichannel is everywhere 

Omnichannel isn’t just another trend in the retail industry, it’s become a business imperative—even for small businesses. 

“Omnichannel used to only mean combining digital and physical shopping,” says Best Buy’s CEO Corie Barry in an article for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Now, it has expanded to cover myriad consumer touchpoints, and retailers must provide a consistent experience with all of them.” 

Many shoppers continue to research products on a phone or laptop, but they still want the option to visit a brick-and-mortar store to complete their purchase. Customers also want the flexibility to buy online and pick up in-store, request same-day delivery, or complete an entire transaction on their mobile device. What’s more, they expect gift cards to flex seamlessly between eCommerce purchases and in-store purchases.

Local retailers are integral to their communities—but serving modern shoppers also means moving elements of local shopping online. The good news is that starting an eCommerce site doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. 

Make sure your business is easily discoverable online, too. Start by setting up a Google Business Profile and adding Local Inventory on Google from the Clover App Market. 

READ: How to optimize the eCommerce checkout flow for your business

Trend #3: Customers continue to demand more self-service options 

Self-service options have already penetrated the restaurant industry, where customers can place their orders, pay, and collect their orders without any personal interaction with staff. Now, it’s a retailer trend that many customers hope catches on throughout the entire retail industry. 

Consider these stats: 

Underlying the increasing demand for self-service options is the fact that many customers want a more efficient and flexible checkout experience. As the New York Times noted as far back as 2002, “Self-checkout has a psychological effect: as long as the shopper is taking an active part, it seems to go faster.”

Small business owners can tap into this retail industry trend by offering more ways to pay: using a countertop point of sale, a handheld device, or no hardware at all. Clover devices can also accept all types of payments: credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, PayPal and Venmo, gift cards, and contactless payments.

Trend #4: VIP experience through concierge shopping 

Personal shopping has become a top-drawer  offering for retailers seeking to deliver a VIP customer experience. Dolce & Gabbana and Bloomingdale’s showed what it is to blend digital shopping with in-person shopping by letting customers book shopping appointments online, meet with a personal shopper virtually or in person, and enjoy a shopping experience that feels unique, personal, and tailored to the individual. 

However, personal shopping isn’t just for high-end retailers. Minnesotan thrift chain Arc’s Value Village has offered a personal shopping service for local vintage lovers and fashionistas for more than a decade. Stylists help clients sort through items from the sometimes-overwhelming racks, and clients far exceed their average ticket price. 

Small businesses can embrace this retail business trend and create a memorable experience for their customers through Clover’s Customer Engagement Suite, which includes Clover Rewards —an easy way to offer your most loyal customers ways to earn discounts and exclusive perks–like a concierge experience. 

If you want to take the personal shopping experience a step further, you can schedule appointments with a personal shopper via Clover’s many scheduling apps, like Cojilio or Appointment Scheduler Pro.

READ: Launch a VIP customer rewards program

Trend #5: Sustainability still on center stage

A recent Deloitte survey found that one in three consumers claimed to have stopped purchasing from brands due to ethical or sustainability-related concerns. The environment, for instance, can be a consideration in purchasing decisions for some shoppers. 

There are plenty of ways to make your business more sustainable without breaking the bank. You can reduce your business’s carbon footprint by switching your electricity provider to more sustainable sources, for instance, or work with partners who have their own sustainability policies. 

You can pick one area of sustainability to commit to, like reducing plastic in your business operations. According to McKinsey, public awareness of plastic waste in the environment has increased to an all-time high over the past few years. Maybe you change your packaging to reusable, recyclable, or compostable materials. Or, maybe you give employees reusable water bottles to reduce plastic in your office environment. Digital gift cards are a great way to cut down on plastic without sacrificing sales. Clover Gift Cards can be purchased and redeemed right on your customers’ smartphones. 

Following these top retail trends can set your business up for success in 2024. And Clover is here to help with an arsenal of tools to help you run your retail business faster and easier. Contact a Business Consultant today to get started.


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