Retail industry trends move fast, especially when it comes to consumer needs. Another year is well underway, bringing fresh opportunities and challenges for businesses to manoeuvre.
The current cost of living crisis is felt by everyone. 43% of UK businesses believe they need to offer discounts to consumers year-round because of inflation. And UK consumers prove this is important to them, with 62% spending more time searching for the best deals and 15% waiting for discounts before making a purchase. But there are other ways to win over customers: 53% of businesses believe that offering experiences to customers when shopping helps turn browsing into spending.
In order to stay competitive, retailers must be open to new technology, sales channels, and expansion – and our latest research has proved just that. Here are key UK retail trends for 2024 that we’ve identified from our data.
4 Retail trends in 2024:
1. The return of in-store shopping
Visiting stores without restrictions is welcomed after the pandemic. Consumers are browsing and buying in brick-and-mortar stores more now, with groceries proving the most popular category in the UK to buy in person.
But after being forced to jump between multiple channels over the last few years, people are no longer pigeon-holing themselves as in-app, online, or in-store consumers in a strict sense. They want the flexibility of purchasing across all channels at once.
This is clear from 26% of UK consumers appreciating the use of technology in-store, which has accelerated since 2020, while acknowledging it’s still important to interact with shop assistants and staff. With this flexible approach to shopping, retailers must be prepared across all platforms in order to make a lasting impression.
2. A unified shopping experience
Unified commerce – connecting online and offline payments in one system – is the model that just keeps on giving, so having a strategy around it is essential. Only 14% of UK retailers heavily invest in this area, but our research estimates a £1.2 trillion opportunity in the retail sector worldwide if more retailers adopt unified commerce.
To keep consumers happy and give them a positive experience wherever they choose to buy, retailers must provide seamless online and point of sale (POS) payments. 56% of consumers will abandon an online checkout or leave the store if they can’t pay how they want, while 57% would be more loyal to a retailer that lets them buy online and return in-store.
And to make this end-to-end journey even better, businesses need to prioritise the UX design of everything from in-store kiosks to apps. A consistent and easy-to-follow purchase flow will increase conversions across the board and keep consumers coming back.
3. Automating consumer loyalty
Loyalty is no longer an add-on or extra for shoppers. Consumers want to be recognised across channels and receive an experience tailored to their preferences.
But there’s some work that needs to be done here in the UK, as 61% of UK consumers feel retailers need to improve their rewards. And 50% think loyalty programmes rarely offer them what they want. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise when 36% of businesses admitted they don’t feel they have the data to make intelligent decisions oncustomer loyalty.
One way to resolve this is to link a loyalty programme to a customer’s payment card. This connection diminishes the need for separate QR codes or stamp cards and automatically provides businesses with the data they need to understand the habits of their shoppers better. According to our consumers, 53% would be more likely to return to a retailer that connects loyalty programmes with payment cards. With a demand for personalised discounts this also paves the way for such offerings.
4. Global expansion is on the horizon
Brexit threw a spanner into the works when it comes to buying abroad, as the input tax on online orders above £135 is a deterrent for many consumers. However, compared to previous years, it appears as though more retailers are looking to invest in cross-border commerce in 2024, with the majority looking to do so online.
38% of UK retailers plan to invest in international expansion online compared to 20% of those looking to boost their physical footprint. And the US is a popular choice across the board, with 38% of UK retailers naming it a focus.
It’s crucial that consumers can benefit from this move as well. And with 79% of them preferring to use debit or credit cards when purchasing online, it’s again important that businesses offer locally relevant payment methods.
How technology can help retailers
At Adyen, we have insights into trends and consumer preferences and strive to be first to market with new payment capabilities. Our platform covers online and offline payments, providing retail businesses with terminals and online technology that improves the customer experience.
More innovative technology allows businesses to:
Connect better with shoppers
Provide customers the payment methods they prefer
Offer quick and seamless payment experiences
Deliver flexible cross-channel shopping experiences like buying online and refunding in-store, endless aisles, and shopper recognition for loyalty.
A platform built for retail
Expertise and technology are key for staying up to date and adapting to fast-moving retail trends. With Adyen, you get access to the latest hardware and software needed to offer your customers what they expect on a global scale. You’ll always be one step ahead and get access to the latest innovations when things change.
Our financial technology platform can power digital transformation forretail businesses. We use industry-wide data to give us insights into what works so we can build a solution for all businesses. Simplifying your business and consolidating your payments into one system will make it easier to introduce new technology, open new channels, and expand to new regions.
And withUnified Commerce, you can give your customers the perfect combination of physical and digital. Connecting your data means better customer experiences and the possibility to adapt to your shoppers’ needs, providing them with faster checkouts, flexible experiences, and new channels.