5 must-watch trends in retail small businesses for 2023

Editorial Team

5 min read
Person making monthly subscription box selection

Looking to get ahead of retail trends in 2023? This concise guide will help you get a jump on the new year. Trends that emerged during the pandemic have now solidified into lasting shifts in consumer preferences.

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And, while some retail industry trends are new, there’s an underlying theme that’s classic: convenience, flexibility, and sustainability will never go out of style. Addressing these demands may mean adding new tools to your business tech stack that help you serve your customers whenever, wherever, and however they want to shop.

Trend #1: Subscription-based payment models will continue to grow.

Amazon pioneered the subscription-based retail model, but subscription brands have seen explosive growth over the last five years. Juniper Research predicts that subscription revenue for consumer physical goods will reach $264 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 ensure their customers come back instead of going to a competitor. It’s also an easy way to smooth out your cash flow and ensure you have consistent payments coming in each month. Offering a subscription option via Clover is simple: Loyalzoo’s Memberships & Recurring Payments 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 is a popular marketing buzzword, but it’s become a clear imperative—even for small businesses.

“Omnichannel used to only mean combining digital and physical shopping,” wrote The US 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 research products on a phone or laptop, but still want the option to visit a brick-and-mortar store to complete their purchase. Customers want the flexibility to order online and pick up in-store, request same-day delivery, or complete the entire transaction on their mobile devices. They expect gift cards to flex seamlessly between eCommerce purchases and in-store purchases, too.

Local retailers are hugely important to their communities–but serving modern shoppers 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 Pointy from the Clover App Market.

READ: You need e-commerce more than ever. Here’s how to do it right.

Trend #3: Customers want self-service options.

Self-service options have already penetrated the restaurant industry, where customers can place their orders, collect, and pay without any personal interaction with staff. Many customers hope this convenience will bleed into the retail industry, too. Consider these stats sourced by Hootsuite:

  • 58% of surveyed retail shoppers in North America say they have used in-store self-checkout.
  • 48.7% say they use self-checkout exclusively.
  • 85% think self-checkout is faster than waiting in line.
  • 71% would like an app they can use to buy products instead of waiting in a checkout queue.

Underlying the demand for self-service is the fact that many customers want a more efficient, flexible checkout experience. Labor shortages are leading to longer lines—and more impatient shoppers. Small business owners can address this issue 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, gift cards, and contactless payments.

Trend #4: Offer concierge shopping for a VIP experience.

What started as a COVID precaution lives on: personal shopping has become a great perk for retailers seeking to deliver a VIP experience to customers. Dolce & Gabbana and Bloomingdale’s demonstrated a way to blend digital and in-person shopping by allowing customers to book shopping appointments online, meet with a personal shopper virtually or in-store, and enjoy a shopping experience that feels unique, personal, and tailored to the individual.

However, personal shopping isn’t just for high-end retailers. This year, Walmart launched Jetblack, a concierge shopping service that combines eCommerce with a personal shopper experience. Jetblack is designed for busy parents who may not have the time to get to the store in person.

Small businesses can replicate this type of experience for their customers through Clover’s Customer Engagement Suite, which includes the powerful Rewards App — 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 persona-shopping experience a step further, you can schedule appointments with a personal shopper via Clover’s many scheduling apps like Cojillo or Appointment Scheduler by SPS.

READ: Launch a VIP customer rewards program

Trend #5: Sustainability takes center stage.

A recent survey by Deloitte found that one in three consumers claimed to have stopped purchasing from brands due to ethical or sustainability-related concerns. Especially for younger customers, the environment is a major factor in purchasing decisions.

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

Or, pick one area of sustainability to commit to, such as 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 12–24 months. Maybe you change your packaging to reusable or recyclable 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.

By focusing on these underlying drivers motivating shopping behavior, you can set your business up for success in 2023. Clover is here to help, with plenty of tools to help you run your retail business faster and easier. Contact a Business Consultant today to get started.

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