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PREDICTIONS Recommerce and social platforms transforming retail

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Each year, DeliveryX starts to look ahead to the coming new year in a series of predictions. Angus Knights, from post purchase experience software provider parcelLab, answered questions on what ecommerce will look like in 2024.

Angus Knights, parcelLab

There’s a lot of buzz around the recommerce revolution. Why do you think it’s gaining such momentum?
Recommerce, or reverse commerce, is rapidly transforming retail because it speaks directly to the modern consumer’s desire for sustainability and value. As environmental concerns grow, people are embracing the idea of purchasing pre-owned items to reduce waste.

It’s a win-win scenario, offering more affordable options for consumers and a new revenue stream for retailers. The key for businesses is to ensure authenticity and quality, which can turn second-hand shopping into a premium experience.

Omnichannel retailing isn’t a new concept, but it’s persisting as a trend into 2024. What makes it so crucial now?
Omnichannel retailing has evolved. It’s no longer just about being present on multiple platforms; it’s about delivering a consistent, seamless experience. Customers expect to move fluidly between online and offline channels. Retailers that integrate their services, ensuring that each touchpoint is interconnected, are those that will thrive. It’s crucial because it directly affects customer satisfaction and loyalty – both of which are key drivers for repeat business in a competitive market.

Consumers are increasingly demanding transparency in supply chains. How should retailers respond to this?
Transparency is no longer optional; it’s a necessity. Consumers are more informed and conscious about the ethics of their purchases. Retailers must provide visibility into their supply chains, demonstrating ethical practices and sustainability. This can mean regular reporting, ethical sourcing badges, or even blockchain tracking for products. Retailers adopting transparent operations are likely to gain consumer trust and, consequently, a stronger market position.

Social media platforms, especially TikTok, are changing the shopping landscape with live video shopping. How significant is this shift?
It’s a game-changer. Social media has always influenced retail, but live video shopping turns viewers into instant customers. It creates an interactive experience that’s engaging, immediate, and highly personal. Retailers can leverage this by partnering with influencers or creating their own live content to showcase products, offer live demos, and interact with consumers in real-time. It’s about tapping into the community aspect of shopping that many consumers crave.

Could you provide some practical advice for retailers who want to leverage these trends?
For recommerce, retailers should focus on developing a robust authentication process and a narrative around the lifecycle of their products. With omnichannel retailing, investment in integrated technology systems that provide a seamless customer experience is crucial. In terms of supply chain transparency, it’s about starting with internal audits, understanding your supply chain thoroughly, and then communicating this clearly to your customers. For live shopping via social media, retailers need to be authentic and engaging, providing exclusive content that feels personal to the viewer.

What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for retailers in adapting to these trends?
The biggest challenge will be balancing innovation with consistency. Retailers need to continuously adapt to new technologies and consumer behaviours without losing sight of their brand promise and the quality of their customer service. It’s about being agile in implementation but also steadfast in delivering value and trust to consumers.

Finally, how important is technology going to be for the future of retail?
Technology is not just important; it’s integral. It’s the backbone of modern retail, enabling the creation of omnichannel experiences, supply chain transparency, and the execution of live shopping events. Retailers must embrace technology not only to improve their operations but also to meet the ever-evolving expectations of their customers. The retailers that can most effectively integrate technology to enhance the shopping experience will be the ones who lead the pack in 2024 and beyond.

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