The past two years were significantly impacted by the covid-19 pandemic, putting incredible demands on retailers. That said, the retail landscape has changed so fast and in so many ways, much remains uncertain when it comes to looking ahead to 2022. However, the pandemic continues to accelerate some trends, several of which most likely will have a great impact this new year. 

Thus, retailers need to plan strategies to deliver a better customer experience, which aligns with customer expectations and adapts to the changes that 2022 will bring. So, what can we expect to see from the retail industry coming up? Here are some trends and expectations SmartSpotter predicts for 2022.

Redefining the role of stores

Shopping habits have changed, and in some customers for good. Retailers have known that the industry's future relies on providing a different kind of retail experience, one which adapts and can be flexible to customers' needs. One more digital and personalized, as well as sustainable. 

The pandemic has accelerated this trend, but the problem is that very few retailers were prepared for setting the stage to support the digital shift. This new year is the opportunity for them to commit to bringing customers both online and offline personalized experiences, creating their own retail space. 

That is what we call an online-merge-offline (OMO) model, the future of retail, which evolves around technology-driven sales and cost-efficiency. It means creating a diverse store portfolio tailored to the needs of local customers, using an existing e-commerce platform, and thus driving unit cost down, saving time for the consumer's shopping experience. OMO provides flexibility and creates business opportunities. It allows customers to access products and services of your brand from any channel, which will allow your brand to succeed as customers diversify their shopping habits. The best part is, it applies to all sectors of retail!

Conscious consumerism is reshaping consumer behaviour

A variety of factors highly influences purchase behaviour. Moreover, the perception of essential products constantly changes, and the pandemic has shaped both consumers' needs and their perception of retail. We are in the era of conscious consumers, the ones who are more interested in the company's footprint and the products and understanding of their purchasing power. 

Research shows that customers are more conscious about their shopping habits, and are more likely to support companies that align with their ethics and values, are more sustainable, and with less environmental impact. 

That said, factors related to social responsibility increasingly matter to customers. They have an enormous impact on the brands and products they choose to buy, and 2022 will not be different. Our message to retailers is that regardless of the cause your brand supports, communicating the values of your business to your customers is more important than ever. Make sure that what you have to offer not only aligns with their principles and standards but is also authentic to them.  

Technology and automation will be crucial to the customer's experience

Both in-store and online, technology is a crucial factor that will determine business growth, and access to it will result in a rise of customized marketing from all brands. It is a consequence of marketing automation software not being exclusive to big brands that can afford it. 
In 2022, even small businesses must begin to find ways to set themselves apart from competitors and start to, for example, capitalize on the ubiquity of smartphones, thus improving communication strategies and providing the customer 24/7 shopping with eCommerce taking advantage of social media platforms.

Innovate and adapt. As the world changes, so does the industry. Engaging with customers and finding new ways to deliver a better, personalized customer experience has never been more critical. The SmartSpotter's platform has been designed to help businesses of any size adapt and innovate, so your brand can get ready to take on 2022! 

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