The retail experience has continued to evolve with the influx of new technologies. Beyond mere transactions, the retail experience now depends on many moving parts and how they work together, including convenience, personalization, simplicity, and engagement. These considerations have been pushed to the forefront with continued online shopping surges and the demand for better digital experiences.
Today’s consumers are always just seconds away from making a potential purchase. They carry smartphones in their pockets, which act as portals to an online marketplace that contains anything and everything to meet their immediate needs. This increasingly puts pressure on retailers to continue evolving to engage their audiences.
Understanding consumer expectations has never been more important, and retailers are tasked to meet and exceed constantly changing preferences. Harnessing the right strategies will ensure businesses can enhance the retail experience in 2024 and beyond.
Understanding Consumer Expectations
Consumer behavior has undergone a complete transformation thanks to tech advancements and changing societal dynamics. What was once solely in-store, in-person customer experiences have changed into 24/7, real-time interactions with brands online.
In 2024, consumers now seek seamless experiences. They want instant gratification, as waiting on a response or going through a clunky buying process will quickly send them to a competitor. They’re also looking for meaningful connections with the brands they follow and support with purchases.
One detailed retail technology study outlined three categories of solutions that retailers should consider to improve the customer experience: those that contribute to the experiential components of the shopping experience, those that reduce friction in the customer journey, and those that enhance transparency and brand trust.
To stay ahead, retailers must understand all the factors that influence consumer expectations and behaviors and implement the right strategies to meet the moment. Here are the top five ways to improve the retail customer experience in 2024:
1. Utilizing Virtual Try-On Technology for Personalization
For many decades, each time cutting-edge technology has been embraced on a large scale, the retail game changes. Businesses that fail to embrace technological change are left behind. Retailers must accept and incorporate new technologies to create the digital retail experience people are actively looking for.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms are two important examples. Utilizing these advancements empowers retailers to curate personalized experiences based on individual preferences.
Automated data tools, generative AI, augmented and virtual reality, and predictive analytics are now solid components of a successful customer service foundation for beauty brands. Customers can take advantage of virtual try-on technology to have a more relevant, personalized experience when shopping. Additionally, when retailers harness the data-driven insights these technologies provide, they can deliver bespoke services that foster stronger customer-brand relationships.
Percent Corp. offers a complete suite of solutions for retailers to integrate these technologies with ease. Tools like Makeup AR and Face AI help brands deliver the real-time, augmented reality experiences consumers look for when interacting with skincare and beauty providers.
2. Creating Seamless Omnichannel Experiences
Retailers also must converge online and offline channels to meet customer expectations. People across generations still enjoy shopping in stores for many types of products. They may conduct their research and comparisons online, and then head to the store to make the final purchase. Or, they may find the product they want in-store, only to buy it online later when a sale is live.
This means businesses must craft a unified, omnichannel approach for a better customer experience. This approach recognizes and incorporates the customer journey, and sets up touchpoints along the way. Consumers need to transition effortlessly between digital platforms and physical stores.
Exceptional retail experiences cannot happen in today’s landscape without seamlessness. This is the key to ensuring customers are satisfied and engaged throughout their buying journeys.
3. Fostering Engagement through Interactive Spaces
Trends dominating 2024 predictions include immersive and interactive retail customer experiences. Consumers want retailers to blend personalization with ongoing engagement so they stay interested. Technologies like virtual try-on solutions and augmented reality tools ensure consumers are blown away by brand interactions.
Even brick-and-mortar stores must embrace interactive technologies. Many today have become experiential hubs, offering customers much more than just products. Digital kiosks help customers manage their orders onsite or explore product options. They can take in-store quizzes to find the right makeup or hair products for their needs.
Engaging, interactive elements both in-store and online help captivate consumers, creating better experiences, making lasting impressions, and driving brand loyalty. Perfect Corp.’s interactive try-on solutions make it simple to meet consumers’ expectations for instant gratification and comparison when shopping.
4. Prioritizing Sustainability and Ethical Practices
Another trend in 2024 is sustainability. Retail customers now prioritize products that have been ethically sourced and manufactured. Recent reports have uncovered that between half and two-thirds of consumers say they’ll pay more for sustainable products, and that number increases for younger adult consumers.
There has been an entire paradigm shift toward more eco-friendly practices and ethical standards that not only contribute to a better environment, but also resonate with health-conscious customers. Technology is an important piece of retailers implementing sustainable business practices. For instance, AR and AI-powered virtual try-on technologies can help brands and retailers operate more sustainably by eliminating the need for physical product samples, and thereby reducing the amount of product waste generated during the sampling process.
Retailers need to embrace sustainable, ethical practices, but they also must communicate the steps they’re taking to customers. Their changing practices should be transparent and clear, which helps build trust with their audiences.
In the years ahead, thinking about the environmental impacts of products will be a game-changer in improving the retail experience.
5. Empowering Employees for Better Customer Engagement
Even while new technology is a must for retailers to stay relevant, nothing can fully replace the human touch. A survey from Redpoint Global found that 70% of consumers say they still prefer a human interaction over chatbots, and 77% say they believe positive customer experiences still need elements of human touch.
This means employees need all the tools, training, and resources to engage customers effectively. The key is for retailers to find the right balance between digital solutions and human support so customers receive the best of both worlds. Employees need comprehensive and ongoing training on new tech solutions and how they impact customers.
A knowledgeable workforce significantly influences consumer perceptions. Pairing a robust technology program with empowered employees improves customer satisfaction and helps the brand maintain strong, long-lasting relationships.
Enhanced Customer Experiences with Perfect Corp.
As 2024 takes hold, many different factors converge in the retail experience. Retailers must harness consumer-centric strategies like personalization, technological innovation, and sustainability endeavors, ensuring employees are trained and empowered along the way. Balancing these elements effectively lays the groundwork for a retail journey that stands out from competitors and continues to compel retail customers.
The key is to work with a partner like Perfect Corp., which delivers a bundle of AI-driven solutions to enhance the retail customer experience. From virtual try-on tools to advanced skin analysis, Perfect Corp.’s solutions help beauty retailers provide a personalized touch to engage consumers. Find out more with a free demo.
2024 Retail Experience FAQ
1. What role does technology play in enhancing retail experiences in 2024?
Technologies like augmented and virtual reality, generative AI, and predictive analytics are trending in 2024 for consumers. Retailers must embrace these solutions in their offerings to ensure customers get personalized, engaging experiences throughout their buying journeys.
2. How can retailers balance sustainability with profitability?
Embracing more eco-friendly practices doesn’t mean brands have to sacrifice profit—in fact, sustainability solutions can lead to more business growth. Today’s consumers expect to see sustainable, environmentally conscious practices from retailers they support, so prioritizing these concerns leads to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty and thus more revenue.
3. What steps can retailers take to adapt to evolving consumer expectations?
Number one is embracing technology and utilizing the latest tools for greater personalization. Retailers also need to establish an omnichannel approach that engages with customers across their many channels—from their smartphones to their laptops to brick-and-mortar stores. Because today’s consumers still prioritize human interactions, empowering employees with training and resources will ensure they continue to deliver above and beyond customer expectations.
Get expert advice from Perfect Corp. and be part of the beauty tech trend. Contact us for details on beauty tech solutions trusted by 600+ brands globally.
Read our “Beauty Tech: The Complete Guide” to unlock powerful ROI secrets.