With the new year just around the corner, I’m excited to share my annual list of what retailers can expect over the next twelve months. Here are eight of my predictions for what we’ll see more of in 2023.

#1. Creative Hiring

I didn’t have labor issues on my list when I recorded episode 98: 10 Things Retailers Can Expect in 2022. As helpful as I try to be, I don’t always get it right (or have a crystal ball)! 

However, I saw and heard so many of you who struggled with labor this past year. And I think creative hiring practices will definitely continue into 2023! If you’re struggling with labor pains at your store, check out episode 144. I shared 12 potential solutions for hiring and retaining employees.

#2. Multiple Channels

Many of us aren’t prepared to go all in on omnichannel retail, and I get it. If you aren’t sure what omni-channel means, listen to episode 78: What is Omnichannel Retail and How To Achieve It

But I will nudge you to consider multi-channel for your retail business! Aside from your brick-and-mortar store, how else can customers shop with you? 

E-Commerce is easier than ever. Even if you hate tech, there are plenty of options for hiring someone to do this for you! About half of Master Shopkeepers members set up their own eCommerce stores, and half hired someone to support them. 

My retail business is multi-channel! I love that our website is both generating revenue AND bringing customers into the physical store. I can’t tell you how many customers tell me that they browsed our website before they came in or that something on the site prompted them to visit!

Our Shopify site is a revenue stream, but it’s also an effective marketing tool. Your eCommerce presence should be, too. 

#3. Contactless Payments

More and more consumers want to use their phones and apps to pay. It’s so convenient to pay with the device that’s already in their hands! 

As a result of the pandemic, many POS systems eliminated the need to sign a screen. We also don’t need to hold someone’s credit card to process a transaction anymore. If this feature is available on your Point of Sale (POS) system, you should get it set up. 

At the store I co-own with my sister, the entire process is contactless. That means we don’t touch the customer’s credit card unless they need or ask for help, of course. The customer holds their own card, taps or inserts the chip, or uses their phones to tap and pay. We still accept cash, but it’s a tiny percentage of our total payments.

#4. Data-Driven Decisions

As indie retailers, we have access to more data than ever. I think this is fantastic—y’all know I’m a systems and data geek! 

Almost every software program or system we use has stats, an analytics dashboard, or reporting features. We don’t often look at this information, but I’m going to push shopkeepers to do this more and more. 

Check out episode 149: Lighten Your Mental Load By Making Data-Driven Decisions for detailed examples of what kinds of data you should be looking at and how that data can inform your choices.

#5. Experiential Brick-and-Mortar Retail

With in-store shopping available again—AND online shopping more popular than ever before—it’s the perfect time to consider creating a unique or memorable shopping experience for your customers. 

Some bigger retailers are doing this with augmented reality (AR) or interactive displays. Others are adding gorgeous art installations or hyper-local designs. The funny thing is that these bigger brick-and-mortar stores are focusing on experience BECAUSE of the great experiences customers have at indie retailers! 

Community and connection-focused experiences are where indie retailers can stand out. My husband and I were recently chatting about exploring and getting out more in our area. We always do this on vacation, but we get stuck when we’re in our “safe zone.”

 But I want to break this habit, and many consumers do, too. I want to meet up with friends, do fun things, and go to restaurants we haven’t tried yet! What kinds of creative, connection-focused experiences could you offer in your store?

We’ve always provided experiences for our customers, whether it has been authentic and heartwarming conversations, excellent customer services, or events in our stores. We have that special touch that big box stores just can’t provide. 

#6. Conscious Consumerism

Conscious consumers are starting to define retail habits. Consumers aren’t just thinking about the features of a product: they’re concerned about the worldview of who they’re buying from and the environmental impact of their buying choices. 

Even if this isn’t a core focus of your business, you can do small things that these customers will appreciate. For example, post about causes that mean something to you and/or your brand! 

If your products are handmade, locally made, or both, that matters to conscious consumers. Or, if you’re using recycled shipping materials, share that with your customers with a sticker or short message on your packages. This can communicate that you believe in and support sustainability efforts, AND it communicates why your packaging isn’t pretty and perfect. Consumers will appreciate you sharing this with them.

The conscious consumer is very aware of their buying habits and the potential impact of their purchases. They intentionally look for brands that align with their values. Sharing your values will help attract more aligned customers to your store.

#7. Social Commerce

Selling on social media is more popular than ever. 75% of retailers are now selling on social media. Of those retailers selling on social media, 43% say that half or MORE of their revenue comes from social media sales. 

If you haven’t tried creating shoppable posts, live selling, and setting up a TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook shop…2023 is the best time to get started!  Being on social media allows you to reach more customers and boost your sales, especially now that people are more glued than ever to their devices.

This leads to the last item on my list…

#8. Video, Video, Video

Yes, video was also on my list for 2022, but it’s NOT going away! The million-dollar question is this: How can you use video to market and sell in your business? 

If video makes you uncomfortable, maybe going live isn’t the solution. Perhaps you dip your toe in the water by recording (and probably re-recording/editing until it feels just right!) first. Or maybe you get a team member to do it! 

You CAN show up on video—it’s just a matter of what will work for your comfort zone. 

What I Didn’t Mention

You might be wondering why I didn’t mention the economy. I intentionally left this off my list. 

The truth is, I’m tired of retailers feeling like they need to predict this. It consumes WAY too much of our time, brain power, and energy. We’re so consumed with the day-to-day or week-to-week sales, and we often let it affect our moods. 

Here’s the hard truth: it isn’t the sales that bring us down. It’s our thoughts and our minds

Instead of worrying about the day-to-day sales, focus on building a solid foundation so that you are prepared for ANYTHING—the highs, the lows, and the unexpected. The pandemic was not the only time you’ll have to pivot or experience decision fatigue in your business. It is just part of being an entrepreneur! 

Now is the time to start loving and nurturing your brain, because it’s our brains that create magic in and for our businesses. 

If you want concrete strategy, a solid foundation, and a supportive community, consider applying to Master Shopkeepers. It’s packed with the resources you need, such as the Cash Flow Masterclass, dozens of modules on everything from online marketing to creating supportive systems and processes, and templates for efficiently running every single part of your brick-and-mortar business. 

Master Shopkeepers is also an active community of other indie retailers who are there to be a sounding board and source of inspiration for your business. Best of all, there are opportunities for hot seat coaching during our regularly scheduled group calls. 

Start 2023 off with your best shopkeeper foot forward by joining Master Shopkeepers! You can learn more at www.savvyshopkeeper.com/groupmembership

Resources

Timestamps

  • [02:24] #1. Creative Hiring
  • [04:16] #2. Multiple Channels
  • [06:42] #3. Contactless Payments
  • [08:01] #4. Data-Driven Decisions
  • [08:51] #5. Experiential Brick-and-Mortar Retail
  • [12:31] #6. Conscious Consumerism
  • [15:34] #7. Social Commerce
  • [16:58] #8. Video, Video, Video
  • [18:29] What I Didn’t Mention


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