Across industries, the winds blowing around artificial intelligence (AI) could slow down in 2024. There will be less talk about AI and more implementation as companies settle into adoption.
Similarly, the rise of omnichannel shopping and organized retail crime (ORC) in 2023 will persist, just as retailers will grapple with increased shipping and return costs.
Yet, while some themes may crossover into the year ahead, new solutions and trends will undoubtedly arise. Retailers must do their best to anticipate and prepare for trends to come. Here’s a look at trends, tech, and strategies to consider for 2024.
Anticipated retail trends in 2024
Year after year, ecommerce has grown as the primary point of transactions, increasing the pressure put on shipping costs and returns, specifically buying online and returning in-store (BORIS) activity. Retailers will need to decide how to manage these increased costs while adjusting to the blurring of the online and physical retail channels.
In 2024, retailers should explore technology investments harnessing AI capabilities to enhance policy decisions.
Hybrid shopping will take further steps toward being the norm in 2024. For example, a customer may physically be in-store but can scan a code at the shelf to purchase a traditionally high-loss product online. With hybrid shopping, retailers can protect themselves against loss while customers are ensured that a product is in stock.
Retailers will need to invest in technology that presents all channels in a single view, no longer considering brick-and-mortar stores and online as separate.
As retailers manage the increased costs for optimizing omnichannel touchpoints, they could also be up against labor shortages resulting from recent labor strikes. When labor is hard to retain, retailers offer higher wages, which forces the retailer to search for ways to decrease other costs. This could result in product price hikes being passed down to the customer. Or retailers might be tempted to introduce strict return policies associated with omnichannel and online purchases to cut back on costly returns. Instead of taking these policy-based approaches that degrade the customer and employee experience, in 2024, retailers should explore technology investments harnessing AI capabilities to enhance policy decisions.
Retail technologies to watch
While AI hype will likely quiet down next year, investment in actual use cases will increase in 2024. Specifically for retail loss prevention, generative AI can help identify new patterns of loss, leveraging predictive data to uncover new behaviors and support more robust strategies.
Consumers will continue prioritizing sustainability and the impact on greenhouse gas emissions in 2024.
AI can also boost personalized shopping experiences, leading to fewer returns. Retailers that explore AI and real-time optimization can improve the frictionless shopping experience. AI-powered incentives bring a positive return experience to customers and elevate the shopping experience overall.
Personalization also supports sustainability initiatives by incentivizing shoppers to return items in-store instead of shipping back online returns. Consumers will continue prioritizing sustainability and the impact on greenhouse gas emissions in 2024. So, helping customers make sustainable choices through personalization will show that the retailer cares about the same social causes. This initiative can go a long way for customer loyalty and lifetime value.
Flexible retail strategies ahead
Retailers have always been at the forefront of cultural changes. In the last five decades, retailers have witnessed remarkable changes, including the rise of ecommerce, the evolution of omnichannel shopping, and the emergence of highly personalized virtual world shopping experiences.
To meet the pace of change, retailers must develop retail strategies that are agile and adaptable and embrace innovation. Retailers must stay informed and be prepared for new movements in the year ahead. This includes how returns and retail loss prevention are managed.
Investing in technology, preparing for the next phase of AI, testing hybrid shopping, increasing personalization, and continuing learning are ways retailers can prepare for 2024.
Pedro Ramos, Chief Revenue Officer, Appriss Retail
Pedro Ramos is the chief revenue officer for Appriss Retail. With more than two decades of experience in fraud and loss prevention, he holds a vast knowledge of the retail space and experience managing revenue-generating organizations. Pedro oversees customer growth and retention, including sales, customer success, and marketing. Prior to joining Appriss Retail, Pedro spent much of his career as the assistant vice president of loss prevention at Pathmark Stores before gravitating towards loss prevention technology in 2008. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Kean University.