For example, we are more aware of our buying habits, the price/quality ratio and we place more value on sustainability and reuse of products. What is most important besides pricing is the experience in the physical store. A smooth and surprising shopping experience in the physical store is ultimately going to make the difference. But retailer behavior is also changing. Thus, retailers are increasingly aware of the role of the store for both the consumer and the brand itself. Instore communication is becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix.

In the ever-changing retail landscape, the year 2024 promises exciting developments. I’ve listed the trends for you.

1. A new look at retail media

A crucial trend in 2024 is the professionalization of retail media on the store floor. Prioritizing upsell opportunities and making the best use of available space are key. The road to professionalization is complex and requires an integrated approach, as seen in examples such as Jumbo and SPAR, where every element, from network and hardware to content and marketing, must work together seamlessly. Good hardware remains important, but good software makes all the difference. Data-driven approaches with first-party data are becoming essential. While this has limited use today, it is clear that the market is moving in that direction. It is key to understanding customer needs and delivering personalized experiences. Here it is important to hook up the right areas of expertise.

2. A boost on in-store communications

In retail media, of course, you post content from your advertisers. But, don’t forget your own content. Relevance is also key when creating your own content for in-store communication. Review the approach to in-store communications with a fresh focus on strengthening one’s brand over the long term. Instore communication and structuring strategies are the essential pillars. Because each business is unique, it requires a customized approach, taking into account specific needs and challenges. You can’t jump on a ready-made train. Your train is a very different one from the competitor and the track may be going in a very different direction. Therefore, look primarily at your own business and not that of the competitor.

3. Customer-centric thinking

‘Customer-centric’ thinking, removing barriers and becoming a ‘loved brand’ will become of great importance in 2024. Again, this is about understanding the customer better, not imitating the competition. Many retailers still struggle to get into the hearts of consumers. Therefore, place the customer experience at the top of the priority list of the entire customer journey. In doing so, determine how best to apply and analyze the available data in the physical store and how your online channels can thrive in the process. Here it is important to consider what the customer sees as obstacles in the customer journey. Here, we too often focus on the online store, but the purchase process in the physical store is just as important to measure. Only in this way can you achieve loved brand status.

4. Return to the high street

One notable shift in 2024 is the return to the high street, where town centers will have a more important role in city marketing. Embracing diversity and creating unique worlds of experience are becoming crucial. This creates more interesting habitats and busier downtowns that have fewer vacancies. This does require creativity and an investment in accessibility, safety and livability. This is not solely the responsibility of retailers, but is a healthy interplay between hospitality, culture and
the (local) government

5. Keep innovating, especially in the area of personalization

In the field of innovation, hyperpersonalization is the buzzword. Hyperpersonalization takes center stage in 2024, with the term “personal” taking on a new dimension. Hyperpersonalization means not just collecting data, but understanding the nuances and differences between online and physical interactions. It’s not just about knowing a customer’s preferences on a website, but also recognizing them personally when they walk into the physical store. A seamless transition between online and offline is a necessary innovation. We see this trend, among other things, in the rise of marketplaces, with the entire retail industry becoming a complete ecosystem that is connected. To be successful and stand out in such an ecosystem where you can offer all your favorite brands in one store and thus serve your customer in the best way possible, a good infrastructure is indispensable. And that again requires innovativeness.

Innovating in this case is the same as pioneering. Daring to think innovatively will take you further. It takes courage to embrace new approaches and experiment with different methods of hyperpersonalization. Today’s customer expects companies to understand and provide them with what they need, sometimes even before they know it themselves. A holistic approach that takes into account various touch points is essential.

What about the metaverse?

There are also things you don’t have to pay attention to this year: the metaverse. The expected major adaptation in retail does not appear to be forthcoming, as consumers overwhelmingly prefer real-world experiences. The metaverse does not reach the masses and ultimately is not about digital, but about reality. This is evidenced by annual CMO Report, a study by Adformatie in collaboration with Serviceplan Group. Part of this research was a survey on the importance of marketing trends in 2024 according to top marketers in the Netherlands.
Metaverse and NFTs
were named therein as trends for 2024, but marked as important by only 8% of those surveyed.

At First Impression, we look forward full of positivity to what 2024 does bring in retail. As is 2023, the customer and his needs are at the center of all retail innovations to come. Retail media will also continue to develop strongly. We have written about that before. Curious about our take on physical retail? Make an appointment in our experience center soon.