NRF 2023: A Look into the Future of Retail

Jan 23, 2023
7 min read

As the retail industry continues to evolve, the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show has become a go-to destination for retailers, industry experts, and stakeholders to share insights and explore the latest technological and innovative trends.

“The energy at NRF 2023 was buzzing with hype and innovation regarding the future of retail. It was an honor to be involved and in the presence of so many forward-thinking companies and individuals” – Robert Gucker III, Emperia’s Sales Development Representative.

From the latest consumer behavior trends and expectations to retail technology creating seamless shopping experiences, here are a few common themes and leanings you can take into 2023.

The rise of personalization in eCommerce

The NRF Big Show 2023 highlighted the importance of personalization in eCommerce. Retailers are increasingly recognizing the value of personalization in creating a more engaging and rewarding shopping experience for customers. Personalization can take many forms, from personalized product recommendations to targeted marketing campaigns.

“Personalization and time matter; they drive conversion,” says ⁦Tim Baxter⁩, CEO of ⁦Express CEO. 

Tim Baxter, CEO at Express

Imagine the convenience of walking into a store and every product being of interest because AI knows what you’re interested in. That’s why personalized eCommerce and time matter to customers.

This helps to avoid the clutter of irrelevant information and allows customers to focus on the products and deals that matter to them. By providing a more efficient and personalized shopping experience, Emperia’s virtual stores create convenience for customers, saving them time. This is mutually beneficial for both customers and retailers as it leads to increased sales and customer retention.

Emperia enables brands to use various forms of personalization to create a more engaging and rewarding shopping experience. Personalized product recommendations, for example, are based on a customer’s browsing and purchase history, showing products that are most likely to be of interest to them. For example, customers can navigate the store, pick up items and see how they look on their avatars or in their homes, providing your brand with information about their interests and preferences, data that is impossible to gather from a typical brick-and-mortar store.

Innovative technology in retail: Enhancing the online shopping experience

Attendees were treated to awe-inspiring demonstrations of how web3 can create truly immersive and interactive store environments, allowing customers to navigate through a virtual store and interact with products just as they would in a physical store. 

Bloomingdale’s Beauty Room X Emperia

Evan Phillips, Sales Development Representative, added “The number one thing I heard from retailers was, “this is the future.” The retailers were consistently blown away with the quality and level of detail we are able to achieve in virtual stores, and then seamlessly integrate those environments into their existing website.” 

With virtual spaces, retailers can offer customers a more interactive, convenient, and satisfying shopping experience that will keep them coming back for more. It’s no surprise that the topic was hot at the NRF event, and it’s clear that retailers who don’t explore the potential of virtual spaces risk being left behind in the race to offer the best possible customer experience.

Spencer Woodland, Account Executive, observed: “many brands are eager to explore the opportunities that web3 presents, and are actively seeking guidance on how to integrate it into their strategy effectively.”

Promoting your virtual store online, or within the metaverse, requires a strong marketing strategy that puts the customer first. Utilize all opportunities to ensure your brand makes an impact and grows in the competitive metaverse market. With Emperia’s platform, brands can build and maintain their virtual worlds with ease, giving them the freedom to create unique and interactive experiences for their customers. The virtual worlds created on Emperia’s platform can be accessed through various devices, such as computers, mobile phones, and virtual reality headsets, making them accessible to a wide audience.

The growing role of social media in eCommerce

The vast reach and engagement potential of platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook connect with customers in new and innovative ways. 

From shoppable Instagram posts and TikTok product demos to Facebook Live sales events, retailers are finding new ways to turn social media into a powerful sales channel. It’s clear that social media is no longer just a place for brands to post pictures and captions, but a powerful tool for driving online sales, customer engagement, and brand loyalty.

So why is it important for brands to explore the potential of omnichannel?
It is important for brands to explore the potential of an omnichannel approach because it allows them to reach and engage with their customers across multiple platforms and devices. By leveraging various channels such as social media, email, and in-store experiences, brands can create a seamless and personalized shopping journey for their customers.

Innovations in frictionless checkout technology

Frictionless checkout technology improves the shopping experience for both brands and consumers by streamlining the checkout process and increasing convenience, increasing sales, customer satisfaction, and reducing the chance of abandoned shopping carts.

In a conference session featuring Andy Szanger, the director of strategic industries at CDW, and David Dobson, the global retail, hospitality, and consumer goods industry director for Intel, the focus was on the technology and strategies that enable frictionless checkout.

In addition to this, according to studies, the final moments a customer spends in-store are crucial for building brand loyalty. As David Dobson, stated, “It’s a critical phase they’ll remember. Checkout is more than just ringing up a product. It’s about reinforcing the positive perception of the store overall.”

The Importance of Sustainable Retail Practices

With consumers becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions, retailers are under more pressure than ever to adopt sustainable business practices. Big Show visitors were able to learn about the latest sustainable retail trends and best practices, as well as innovative solutions and how drones could be the next big thing as they can be used to solve the last-mile dilemma and what the future of drone delivery holds.

Virtual stores have revolutionized the way consumers shop and enabled clients to adopt more sustainable retail practices. By utilizing virtual stores, brands can reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating the need for physical stores and allowing customers to preview and interact with products in a realistic digital setting, reducing the need for physical returns and reducing the environmental impact of transportation and packaging.

Bloomingdale’s X Chanel X Emperia

Furthermore, virtual spaces can elevate brand transparency, and educate consumers and teach them to make more informed decisions about their purchases. As a result, consumers can select items that are made from sustainable materials or produced in an environmentally friendly way.

What to expect from fashion innovation and technology in 2023

In summary, the intersection of fashion and technology is rapidly evolving and we can expect to see even more exciting developments in the industry in 2023. From virtual and augmented reality showrooms to sustainable and ethical production methods, technology is revolutionizing the way we shop and consume fashion.

Brands will continue to explore new ways to engage with customers and enhance the shopping experience. As consumers become more conscious of the impact of their purchasing decisions, we can also anticipate a rise in sustainable and ethical fashion practices. All in all, 2023 promises to be an exciting year for fashion innovation and virtual retail space.

Discover more about how you can enter the virtual space and how your brand can develop the next best experience online in 2023.

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