2024 Retail Trend Outlook From Industry Experts


We asked some of retail's most prominent voices one simple question: "What should retailers have on their radars for the year ahead?". What we got was an insightful collection of responses that consider key industry talking points like AI, labor shortages, the state of promotions, evolving consumer behaviors, and so much more... Hear from the experts firsthand in our latest video featuring Shelley E. Kohan, Joe Wheeler, Andrew Neelon, Deborah Weinswig, Nilesh Khalkho, Stanson Li, and Bryan Gildenberg. As well as RetailNext co-founders, Alexei Agratchev and Marlie Liu.

Here's what you need to know:

In a digital-first world, retailers must prioritize investing in their associates, as the front office has become synonymous with the back office. Engaging and empowering workers is crucial with the U.S. labor market becoming increasingly tight. Retailers therefore need to provide their employees with tools such as data analytics, decision-making capabilities, advanced technologies, and comprehensive training programs. This investment in staff will be a key differentiator between successful retailers and their competitors, driving better customer experiences and improved performance.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to play a significant role in retail over the next year. Unlike past tech trends, AI offers tangible benefits, from enhanced customer service to more efficient workforce management. Tools like ChatGPT and Google Bard are making AI more accessible, helping retailers meet rising customer expectations and streamline operations. The normalization of the supply chain post-Covid has led to a surge in promotional activities, creating opportunities for retailers who can leverage data to identify and capitalize on market gaps.

Generative AI and data monetization are other critical trends for retailers. Retailers can fund their AI initiatives by monetizing unique processes and intellectual property, enhancing customer experiences and operational efficiencies. Moreover, the competitive talent market necessitates a focus on attracting and retaining high-performing sales associates, who significantly impact sales. Companies like Starbucks exemplify how investing in staff can drive better business outcomes.

The post-Covid retail landscape in China highlights a shift towards outdoor activities, driving sales for brands like Arc'teryx and The North Face. Retailers must enhance their in-store customer experiences, using AI to analyze consumer behavior and maintain consistency between online and offline pricing. The evolving market demands a multi-channel approach, thoughtful customer acquisition strategies, and an emphasis on leveraging strengths. Generative AI will be crucial in delivering personalized, sophisticated shopping experiences as consumer expectations rise.

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