As members of a digital community, we understand that technology plays a key role in our futures. Global recovery from the Covid19 pandemic, as well as a shift in employee and consumer mentality, provides new challenges but also exciting, fresh opportunities.

As 2022 comes to a close, let’s take a look at what new retail technologies are setting trends in 2023.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Shopping 

With the rapid recent advances in Virtual Reality (VR) technology, it’s unsurprising that VR and Augmented Reality (AR) shopping experiences have the potential to be one of the biggest new retail tech trends for 2023.

VR completely transforms the shopping experience. For example, if a customer wants to visit a shop but can’t get there, a VR tour can let them explore the products and services as if they were there. This could involve talking with virtual staff, browsing realistic 3D items and personalising products before purchasing.

AR combines the perks of both VR and ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retailing to enhance the customer experience. Features like scanning QR codes for more information on products or using your smartphone camera to see how a new sofa would look in your lounge could become commonplace.

VR and AR aren’t just interesting gimmicks, though, they’re an opportunity to engage in a rapidly expanding new market. A study has shown that the VR and AR market will have an estimated value of $50 billion by 2024 and that, when asked, 71% of consumers said they would shop more often if they used AR, while 61% prefer retailers with AR experiences. The research also shows a mismatch between customer preferences and retailer awareness, as only 1% of retailers said they are currently using AR, and only 52% said they’d be prepared to integrate it.

Automated Retail

Like VR and AR, retail automation is an area of rapid growth, expected to reach a market value of over $26 billion by 2027. These financial prospects, combined with the impact on workplace satisfaction, are set to make automation and automated shopping some of the top retail tech trends for 2023.

For example, automation can help streamline businesses in a variety of ways, from contactless payment options and streamlining inventory management to automated delivery initiatives like the Amazon Scout.

The Amazon Scout, which has been met with positive reactions across various parts of the U.S., is a fully autonomous electric delivery device. The efficient electric motor and use of solar energy make it a greener, cheaper option than traditional manual couriers, and the eco-friendly traffic-easing benefits also translate into fewer cars on the road, contributing to highway safety.

The benefits of automation aren’t limited to the environment and safety. The Covid19 pandemic changed workplace attitudes in many industries, with record numbers of employees quitting their jobs or expecting more workplace satisfaction. Automated services like chatbots and shelf-scanning robots can streamline the more mundane tasks, freeing up employees to work in more stimulating areas, thus helping with staff retention and engagement.

A Digitally Conscious Market 

The growing market of Gen Z and Millennial customers is something that provides numerous new opportunities to retailers. With young buyers showing a greater concern for merchants in line with their own ethics and values, sustainable, progressive practices are likely to be an important retail tech trend for 2023.

Research shows that Gen Z and Millennial customers are far more likely to buy products described as healthy for themselves and for the environment. When customers aged between 13 and 39 were asked which adjectives would increase their likelihood of purchase, the most popular answer was ‘clean’ with Gen Z and ‘durable’ with Millennials. Other popular terms included ‘sustainable,’ ‘inexpensive’, and ‘eco-friendly.’

This frugal, ethically motivated consumer base is growing year on year, so retailers who reduce costs and take a strong stance on the issues important to younger customers could be set to thrive in 2023.

Modernising Supply Chains

While this might seem like an age-old retail issue, the Covid19 pandemic, combined with a precarious international political situation, has brought the importance of an efficient and consistent supply chain into sharp relief.

Failures in the supply chain raised challenges throughout the pandemic, and supply chain resiliency requires change across the board. In order to overcome persistent issues with the manufacture and movement of goods, it is important to realise that the way customers make their purchases are far less predictable. But with 80% of retail executives estimating that customers value availability over loyalty, it’s an important change to make.

With current supply chain models struggling to keep up with the increase in online and delivery-based retail, organisations may need more credible information and tech upgrades to develop an agile supply chain model to handle this new environment.

With focal areas like ‘last mile delivery’ via the Amazon Scout or AI and Machine Learning to allow retailers to be flexible to the demands of a post-Covid world, modern automated supply chains are tipped to include some of the new retail technologies setting trends in 2023.

The Move Away from Single Purchases

The subscription model gained popularity during the Covid19 pandemic out of necessity, but as the pandemic begins to wind down, the benefits of the subscription model continue to be relevant.

Advantages like access to reliable, recurring revenue and trusted, long-term customer relationships are just two reasons why the subscription model is likely to become an important new retail tech trend for 2023.

A recent study from Barclaycard Payments showed that 67% of shoppers are signed up for at least one digital or door-to-door subscription service. For many customers, this was a choice made to help manage their finances, while others were motivated by access to exclusive content or for a personalised experience.

The three main types of subscriptions are:

  • Replenishment covers deliveries of regular products and household goods, for example, Amazon Subscribe and Save.
  • Curation provides personalised items like outfit combinations and diet plans, for example, Stitch Fix.
  • Access gives members access to products and can provide additional VIP perks, for example, JustFab.

Retailers prepared to get on board with one or more of these subscription models could be giving themselves a great opportunity in the upcoming year.

So what do you make of the trends set to take over 2023? Is your business ready to take on the challenge? Speak to our experts today to see how we can support your business growth through tech.