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What Retail Trends Are Worth It?

Retail trends are crucial for growth, but retailers need to know which are worth it. Find out what retail trends you can leverage.

The retail industry will always be dynamic. To find success, retailers need to stay ahead of the curve and find aspects that they can leverage for their own guaranteed success. This is where retail trends come in. Retailers need to consider current retail trends to grow, as well as analyze which of them are worth investing in.

What is the state of retail?

The retail market and industry are at a high and will only continue to grow and expand in the coming years, after recovering from a global pandemic. According to Statista, the global in-store or brick-and-mortar retail field generated an estimated 20 trillion US dollars in sales in 2022. By 2026, global retail sales are projected to grow to around 32.8 trillion US dollars.


Online shopping, on the other hand, grows steadily along with the retail industry. In 2021, online retail sales worldwide were valued at almost five trillion US dollars, and in 2023, they accounted for over 19% of retail sales worldwide. A lot of the world’s leading retailers are American companies that leverage good performance and service through online retailing. This includes big retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, Target, Costco, and more. This makes the domestic retail industry in the United States incredibly lucrative and competitive.


With the way the retail industry is growing, however, it’s no surprise that many brands and retailers are committing to improving their retail operations and employing new retail technology trends. Retail executives of footwear and electronics brands across the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and more planned to increase their investment in physical store technology in 2023. When it comes to digital tools, on the other hand, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly growing as well, with AI in retail being valued at about 4.84 billion dollars in 2021. This number is estimated to grow to over 31 billion US dollars by 2028.


Younger generations also seem to be favoring online or e-commerce stores. According to SCORE, only 9.6% of Gen Z shoppers prefer to buy from a physical store. Meanwhile, 27.5% of Gen X shoppers, 31% of Millennials, and 31.9% of Baby Boomers still prefer shopping from physical or brick-and-mortar stores. Nasdaq also reported that 95% of all retail purchases are projected to be done via e-commerce.


It’s clear that the retail industry is heading into a state of modernization. New technology will gain traction as retailers try to cater to modern consumers. Retail trends will continue to emerge and evolve, and retailers will have to keep up with these trends to stay ahead of the game.

What is a retail trend?

A retail trend refers to a significant shift or change in consumer behavior, preferences, technology, or the way businesses operate within the retail industry. In other words, a retail trend refers to any significant change that can occur within the industry. These trends can encompass a wide range of factors, including technological advancements, changes in consumer demographics, shifts in economic or environmental conditions, evolving consumer preferences, and innovations in marketing and sales strategies.


Retail trends are usually known to follow technological advancements, especially those brought on by modernization. Nowadays, they’re known to make the lives of both sellers and consumers easier. A lot of these retail trends are also changing the retail experience for the better, offering seamless operations and convenience at every turn.


Understanding and adapting to retail trends is crucial for businesses to stay competitive and relevant in an ever-evolving market landscape. It’s also important to remember that retail trends are always changing, along with developments in the industry and consumers. This very reason can make it challenging for a lot of businesses to keep up with retail trends. 

What are the new trends in retailing?

Retail trends encompass a wide range of elements and impact multiple aspects of the retail experience. From the retailers’ end to the consumers’ end, retail trends are transforming the whole industry.


Here are some of the retail trends that are currently gaining popularity and slowly being implemented across various retail industries:


E-commerce Innovation

The growth of online shopping only continues to grow strong. E-commerce innovations help retailers focus on enhancing the digital customer experience through features like online marketplaces, online web stores, actual customer reviews and testimonials, specific product details, product demonstrations, and more. It’s no surprise that online retailers are finding success, and more and more customers are utilizing e-commerce platforms.


Omnichannel Retailing

Retailers are also increasingly adopting omnichannel strategies, where both online and offline channels are integrated together to provide a seamless shopping experience across multiple touchpoints. This trend included services like click-and-collect, curbside pickup, buy online return in-store (BORIS) approach, online store platforms, and more.


There are also omnichannel grocery trends that paved the way for innovative frozen foods, various ready-to-eat meals, cashless transactions, and more.


Cashierless Stores or Self Checkouts

Autonomous retail technology trends such as self-checkouts and entire cashierless stores are also on the rise. Self-checkouts provide a fast and convenient retail experience. Meanwhile, cashierless stores are innovative and seamless retail stores that don’t rely on cashiers, manual labor, or cash payments. These modern stores significantly reduce waiting times, disruptions, and health and safety risks among customers.


Sustainability and Ethical Consumption

Nowadays, consumers are becoming more conscious of sustainability and ethical considerations when making purchasing decisions. Harvard Business Review mentioned in a 2023 research that sustainability stood out as a critical driver of intent when it comes to consumers’ perceptions. Retailers can respond by offering eco-friendly products, reducing packaging waste, and implementing other sustainable and ethical business practices throughout their supply chains.


Experiential Retail or Customer Experience Over Product

Physical stores are evolving to offer more than just products, focusing on providing immersive and memorable shopping experiences as a whole. This trend might involve the use of interactive displays, in-store events, product demonstrations, pop-up shops, and other experiential elements. This will help retailers engage customers and drive foot traffic to their physical locations.


Social Commerce

Social media platforms were increasingly becoming shopping destinations as well. Social platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook have various features that facilitate social commerce. This includes features like shoppable posts, live shopping events, and even influencer marketing strategies that will drive sales directly from social media channels.


Subscription Services

Subscription-based models are slowly gaining popularity across various retail categories. Retailers are not only offering consumers convenience and personalization, they are also creating recurring revenue streams. This subscription commerce trend extends beyond traditional sectors like media and entertainment to include products ranging from beauty and fashion to meal kits and pet supplies.


Health and Wellness Focus

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the emphasis on health and wellness in the retail industry. This led to increased demand for products and services. Retailers responded by offering health-focused products, promoting self-care practices, and integrating wellness experiences into their offerings.


Electronic Shelf Labels or Digital Labels

Electronic shelf labels (ESL) or digital labels are perhaps one of the most flexible and adaptable retail trends at the moment. These replace traditional paper-based price tags or shelf labels in any retail environment. They’re also usually equipped with advanced technology that can enhance various aspects of retail operations, from inventory to labeling to actual payment. This means digital labels do not only contribute to sustainability efforts; they also impact the overall operational efficiency of retailers.

Why are retail trends important?

Retail trends are not only essential for the consumers, but for the retailer as well. With online retailing gaining more and more favor from younger generations, and new retail technologies emerging left and right, retailers would need to know how to stay ahead.


Here are a few reasons why retailers should always consider retail trends:


  1. Staying Competitive: By staying abreast of current trends, retailers can ensure they remain competitive in the market. Adapting to emerging trends allows retailers to meet changing consumer demands and new preferences. This prevents them from falling behind their competitors.
  2. Meeting Consumer Expectations: Consumer behavior and preferences continually evolve, influenced by factors such as technology, societal and environmental changes, and economic conditions. Retailers who understand and respond to these shifts can tailor their offerings and services to meet consumer expectations. This will help them enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  3. Driving Sales and Revenue: Following retail trends can help retailers identify new opportunities for growth and expansion. By tapping into emerging trends, retailers can introduce innovative products, services, and retail experiences that attract customers and drive sales. Overall, this can increase their revenue.
  4. Improving Operational Efficiency: Retail trends nowadays often involve advancements in technology and business practices that can streamline operations and improve efficiency. For example, adopting new inventory management systems or implementing automation technologies can help retailers optimize their supply chain and reduce costs. This increases efficiency in a retail establishment.
  5. Building Brand Reputation: Embracing relevant retail trends can enhance a retailer's brand reputation and positioning. For instance, aligning with sustainability initiatives or supporting social causes that resonate with consumers can help retailers cultivate a positive brand image. Not only will this strengthen customer loyalty, but it will also build a brand reputation that will attract potential customers and even create collaboration opportunities.
  6. Anticipating Future Developments: And of course, by closely monitoring retail trends, retailers can gain insights into future market developments. They would also be able to anticipate upcoming changes in consumer behavior and preferences. This kind of foresight enables retailers to proactively plan and strategize for the future, which will help them position themselves for long-term success.

Can digital labels help achieve multiple retail trends?

Fortunately for retailers, having one technology, such as a digital label solution, can help them leverage multiple retail trends. With digital labels, retailers can address various challenges and opportunities in the industry and cater to modern consumers.


Here's how:


  1. Enhanced Customer Experience: Digital labels can provide real-time product information, such as pricing, promotions, and product details, as well as interactive features. This improves the overall shopping experience for customers. This instant access to information helps customers make informed purchasing decisions, and interactive features or buttons can help engage the customers. This leads to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
  2. Integration of Omnichannel Retailing: Digital labels can also enable omnichannel retailing for retailers. They can help retailers synchronize pricing and promotions across online and offline channels seamlessly. By integrating digital labels with their e-commerce platforms and inventory management systems, retailers can ensure consistency in pricing and messaging. This supports their overall omnichannel retailing efforts.
  3. Sustainability and Price Transparency: Digital labels can display information about product sourcing, manufacturing processes, and environmental impact. This allows retailers to communicate their commitment to sustainability and ethical practices to consumers. Retailers will also be able to be more accurate and transparent with their pricing, ensuring that they comply with price regulations. This transparency helps build trust and loyalty among environmentally conscious shoppers.
  4. Better Customer Engagement: Digital labels can be used to create interactive and engaging experiences in-store. For example, retailers can incorporate QR codes or NFC (near-field communication) technology into digital labels. These enable customers to access additional product information, view related content, or participate in interactive experiences like product demonstrations.
  5. Autonomous Retail Experience: Digital labels can also be implemented to create autonomous retail experiences. They can be a significant technology found in cashierless stores, offering convenience to customers. Digital labels with NFC capabilities can also be used for mobile payments or self-checkout kiosks. This gives customers independence and comfort like no other.
  6. Operational Efficiency: Digital labels streamline pricing and inventory management processes. This reduces manual labor and minimizes errors associated with traditional paper-based labels. Automated updates and real-time monitoring of product information also help retailers optimize inventory levels, minimize out-of-stocks, and improve operational efficiency.
  7. Adaptability and Flexibility: Digital labels can be easily updated remotely, allowing retailers to respond quickly to changing market conditions, implement dynamic pricing strategies, and launch promotions in real time. This agility enables retailers to stay competitive and leverage emerging opportunities in the retail landscape.


By leveraging digital labels, retailers can effectively address multiple retail trends—enhancing customer engagement, optimizing operations, and driving business growth in today's dynamic retail environment. This makes digital labels a worthy retail trend investment.

Newton ESL as a Retail Technology Trend

SOLUM’s very own Newton ESL is a digital label solution made for various retail settings. It’s a centralized system that can automate workflows, enhance inventory processes, engage customers, and improve customer experience and efficiency. With its technology and features, Newton ESL can help with various retail trends.


Retailers can expect these ESL features from Newton ESL:


  • Breakneck update speed
  • 7-page capacity
  • 7-color LED indicator
  • Multifunctional, programmable buttons
  • Near-field communication (NFC) capability
  • Full graphic e-ink display technology
  • Wide size range from 1.6” up to 11.6”
  • Freezer label option
  • ESL management system
  • IP67 dust and water protection rating
  • 10-year battery life


Digital labels like the Newton ESL are here to elevate the retail experience. Talk to SOLUM experts now and start your digital label journey to keep up with retail trends!

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