Heading into the fourth year of a decade that started with excitement and optimism about the power of technology to change the way we shop, it feels like retailers are finally ready to get out of first gear. The Pandemic, the war in Ukraine, political instability and a declining consumer economy have all taken their toll, but significant lessons have been learned about how to survive and ultimately thrive under rising cost pressures, supply chain constraints and changing consumer behaviour. For some retailers, 2023 will be an opportunity to reset their ambitions and start on a path to recovery, involving some difficult choices along the way. For others, the lessons learned over the past three years, combined with major advances in technology and legislation that favours the retailer, mean there is an opportunity to finally unleash the full potential of their business, achieving profitable, sustainable growth.
Regardless of the scale of their ambition this year, the decisions that will need to be made by retailers will require strong and effective, but also thoughtful and empathetic leadership. Leadership is a theme that runs throughout all our trends for 2023, whether it is making strategic investments or decisions on cutting costs to unlock value, ensuring your business stays focussed on the customer experience in the face of extreme challenges, pushing your net zero agenda or transitioning to a skills-based organisation. But leadership is not just demonstrated in the boardroom. To be successful, retailers will need employees across their organisations to step up and demonstrate leadership traits in the year ahead.
Here are four major trends for retailers to look out for throughout the rest of the year: