Our Top 10 Retail Predictions for 2023

January 10, 2023

2023 Retail Predictions

As we begin the new year we decided to ask a handful of people, from a variety of departments at ChangeUp, to help us gather our top 10 retail predictions for 2023. Here’s what they had to say:

Rethinking the customer experience

Brands will need to re-evaluate how they create distinct experiences as labor challenges continue to drive retailers and restaurant chains to implement technologies to compensate. As consumers are encouraged to interact with brands through apps, and technology to self-help in-store, the opportunities to meaningfully create distinction based on service and hospitality are quickly diminishing. With quality and quantity of labor being scarcer, we will see more polarization between mass market and premium retail.

– Bill Chidley, Executive Director of Strategy

Doing more with less

Consumers in 2023 will be more selective in how they spend their money. As COVID concerns lifted, 2022 saw a rise in impulse buys. I predict that consumers in 2023 will be a lot more cautious in their spending, not necessarily spending less, but focusing more on the experiences and brands they are loyal to. Consumers will be less willing to take risks and explore new brands, instead sticking with their tried-and-true purchases. The smartest brands will find ways to drive loyalty through better digital engagements, creating additional value for customers. Brands should focus their attention on loyalty programs and unique experiences in order to win in 2023!

Susan Rogers, Executive Director of Client Services

The showroom

With the continued adoption of online shopping, customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of next day fulfillment, as opposed to walking out of a store with product in hand. Retailers will likely capitalize on this trend, creating brand showrooms as extensions of the online platform that allow customers to play, learn, and connect before making an online purchase. These showrooms can focus on exceptional service and building customer loyalty instead of inventory management and stocking shelves, all within a smaller footprint. Physical retail and e-commerce can’t be viewed as dueling forces, but rather two important arms of the same brand experience.

Mike Munchoff, Creative Director

Retail gets smarter

Convenience will be even more critical for consumers, and they’re going to expect robust, thoughtfully crafted digital experiences from the brands they love. More consumers are digital-native today than ever before, and tech-enabled experiences considered to be innovative just a few years ago are now table stakes. Behind the scenes, retailers will rely on ever-advancing AI models and computer simulations to make more informed decisions about how, where, and when they serve their customers.

Patrick Madden, Retail Technology Strategist

Natural design elements

Healing planet earth is in the forefront of products for the design industry. New trends are showing an immersion in nature and natural design elements. Gentle pigments infused with bursts of color are generating a sense of surrealism, whimsy, and a highly tactile, organic style.

Ashley Floyd, Design Director

Immersive brand experiences

The revival of in-store shopping has brands thinking of new ways to connect the dots between omnichannel customer journeys and unique shopping experiences that blend the digital and physical. Retailers will need to design purposeful and engaging immersive experiences that tell their brand story to capture consumers’ attention in 2023. I predict brands will try to out-innovate each other in this space, creating even more distinct and memorable hybrid retail experiences.

Alexa Jewell Schaefer, Director of Strategy

Inclusive design

QSR giants are paving the way for a more empathic design strategy, one that addresses the needs for those with varied physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. By leveraging technology and design innovations, new accessible design standards will be the new normal to give people with disabilities a shared sense of belonging.

Luis Jimenez, Associate Director of Architecture

Rightsizing the environment

I predict we’re going to see more retailers continue to right-size their environments. There’s still a shift in consumer behavior post-COVID, and brands need to respond by changing both their space and cost allocations. Retailers and restaurants will have to design for more flexibility to keep up with these changing behaviors and evolving technologies in 2023 and beyond.

Lisa Nolte, Associate Design Director

Enhancing the car-buying journey

The car-buying journey will continue to become more complex and nuanced as more brands rollout electric vehicles with varying sales strategies. Success for OEMs and dealers will require a seamless, integrated customer journey, and a rethink of how a smart-dealership experience can be leveraged for a competitive advantage.

– Andrew Carpenter, Managing Director

Increased personalization

I think there will be a post-COVID shift back to consumers discovering what’s truly most important to them. Flexibility will be paramount, and it will be vital for brands to broaden their portfolios to create personalized experiences for multiple types of customers across industries. Connection—whether virtual or physical—will remain critical.

Abby Golden, Senior Environmental Designer

We’re excited to see what will trend in 2023, but this is also a great time to reflect on the past. Just over a year ago we asked our team for their 2022 trend predictions—check out what they had to say here.