Everyone can remember Cher’s virtual stylist from “Clueless” or Carly’s rotating closet from “iCarly,” but those fantasies of the past may be present possibilities.
The next stage of the internet is known as Web3. This version houses decentralized Blockchain technology, digital currency, artificial intelligence and the metaverse.
Artificial intelligence made headwinds this year with apps like Lensa and ChatGPT. Retailers expect that advancements in AI will create more personalized and relevant digital marketing for consumers.
Blockchain technology is allowing businesses to better track products and collect customer data. With the fall of third-party cookies, consumers should expect more incentives to join the loyalty programs tracked by blockchains.
The metaverse is still in its infancy, but someday stores may have exclusive digital spaces.
However, retail isn’t going completely digital. Many companies are investing in smaller footprint stores.
These are small and localized physical stores that provide streamlined product offerings.
For example, Best Buy has created digital-first showrooms that provide digital assistants and around–the-clock pickup.
Generation Alpha is expected to help shift businesses towards new avenues as well. This group is the most digitally savvy and socially involved generation ever.
Equity, inclusion and sustainability will be most important for these future consumers.
This sentiment has pushed the U.S. to pass the FABRIC Act and New York to pass the Fashion Act. Both pieces of legislation aim to protect garment workers and incentivize more sustainable production methods.
Consumers are continuing to support a circular economy, so many retailers are adding resale sections to their sites.
Lastly, there has been a push to add more policing around retail crimes.
Congress has introduced the Combatting Organized Retail Crime Act, which would establish a new division of Homeland Security to focus on retail crimes.
Loss prevention teams will be utilizing AI and sensor technologies to expand their data tracking capabilities.