Embrace change and stay ahead with these 15 key trends shaping the business landscape. From the AI application to the evolution of retail media, we explore the omnichannel future, guiding you on how to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing world of commerce. Start planning today for the trends that will define tomorrow.

1. A new brand order with less brand equity

Disruptor brands have always existed, but 2023 showcased how the right mix of personalities, products, promotions, and distribution can skyrocket brands in the 2020s. Take The Pink Stuff, captivating cleaners with 250+ million TikTok views. While some may see this success as an isolated incident, it could signal a wake-up call for traditional brands, highlighting the rapid acceleration of brand equity creation. With young consumers increasingly buying directly from influencers, understanding this shift is vital for navigating the future commerce landscape and diversifying brands.

2. Data philanthropy through collective data contribution

In times of adversity, acts of generosity emerge amidst heightened reliance on food banks and the recognition of data's role as a modern-day essential. This leads to the concept of "data philanthropy", where individuals willingly share personal data for collective benefit, seen in medical and academic research. Initiatives like The Shared Network in Ireland demonstrate this ethos. The Shared Network is a pioneering mobile network designed for the homeless, it channels the unused mobile minutes of users in Ireland to support the homeless community through donations. Yet, altruism does not have to exclude commercial opportunity. The evolving commercialization of data offers opportunities for individuals to monetize their digital footprints through consumer-driven "data marketplaces" which are expected to take off.

3. The power of social conversion

China leads the way in social commerce, with 90% of Chinese consumers shopping via social media. Influencers blend content with sales pitches, ensuring a seamless shopping experience within platforms like Alibaba. While social commerce in the West is currently smaller, significant growth is anticipated, evidenced by initiatives like "Amazon Live" and "Walmart Creator". Brands worldwide are recognizing the concept of "Social Conversion", prioritizing immediate purchases over mere brand affinity. Social platforms serve as crucial discovery tools, driving traffic to both online and offline channels, emphasizing the need to harness social's full potential for driving sales.

4. The era of exploration and search

As consumers increasingly seek novelty in their shopping experiences across various online channels, serendipity emerges as a valued aspect. This era of experimentation and exploration presents challenges for retailers and brands, requiring them to transform unexpected moments into opportunities for purchases. With consumers dictating their shopping journeys, characterized by non-linear paths and a desire for entertainment, brands must embrace creativity and innovation to stay relevant. Gamification is a significant method, as well as re-imaging the relationship with 'non-commerce' platforms like entertainment and media. Studies reveal that 60% of consumers desire brands and retailers to enhance both online and offline experiences by infusing them with entertainment. This embodies the essence of shopping as a realm of experimentation and excitement.

5. QR codes revolution continues

The QR code has made a triumphant return during the pandemic, now finding its place in a technologically advanced ecosystem. No longer requiring separate apps, QR codes seamlessly facilitate interactions across industries, offering immersive experiences, IoT (internet of things) applications, and personalized marketing campaigns. Their evolution from simple codes to customizable designs has transformed user engagement, unlocking seamless shopping experiences. As QR codes continue to advance, they may become central to a digitally integrated landscape, enhancing consumer journeys and revolutionizing commerce. Harnessing this potential, brands can leverage QR codes for contactless transactions, interactive marketing, and predictive analytics, paving the way for innovative consumer connections.

6. The growth of retail media and the era of creative commerce

Retail media's ascent signals a transformative shift in commerce, with global spending reaching $128 billion in 2023, poised to surpass linear TV. Yet, amidst the data-driven paradigm, the emphasis on optimizing performance faces limits, urging a focus on engagement and experience. Creative Commerce emerges as the linchpin, where creativity drives conversion, irrespective of medium, yielding up on average 12 X ROI. Executing this creative approach is not easy and some suggestions would be 1) to tap into growth occasions in the calendar for your brand, 2) to make use of cultural trends, and 3) to be innovative and think of unusual uses of retail media. While investing in retail media is crucial, prioritizing Creative Commerce as a brand differentiator ensures meaningful connections and enhanced ROI.

7. Digital Footprints

Human existence is not just flesh and blood; it's also a collection of predictable data points. Our digital footprints, including purchase history and phone usage, form a digital representation of ourselves, offering vast potential uses. These data are already utilized in crime solving. Businesses harness this information to tailor sales programs and predict consumer behavior accurately, transitioning from marketing to complex individuals to targeting logical data sets. Thus, it is recommended that companies embrace AI to gain predictive insights into consumer behavior and engagement.


8. Collaborations for brand success and recognition

Standing out in a crowded market poses challenges for companies, amid rising advertising costs and fierce competition from established brands. Many brands are now turning to symbiotic partnerships for mutual benefits, leveraging shared equity and introducing innovative offerings that spark consumer interest and drive engagement across various media platforms. For instance, Pizza Hut's collaboration with Hasbro Gaming's Trivial Pursuit resulted in a digital trivia game, showcasing the potential of strategic partnerships in driving consumer engagement and commerce. However, some companies fail to capitalize on partnership opportunities, missing out on audience acquisition and brand growth. Brands need to explore strategic partnerships and monetize them to remain relevant in evolving consumer expectations and commerce trends.

9. CO2 Emissions and eCommerce

In recent years, a surge in natural disasters has highlighted the urgency of addressing environmental concerns, yet consumer demands for quick product delivery persist, exacerbating CO2 emissions. However, there's a noticeable shift, with over half of consumers altering their shopping habits due to environmental worries, and nearly half opting for sustainable delivery options. While it is expected of brands to be sustainable and environmentally responsible, at the same time brands shouldn’t forget that above all they should deliver excellent service.

10. High-end digital experiences and shaping luxury exclusivity

Luxury brands face a challenge in maintaining exclusivity online amidst a sea of mass-market retailers. The solution lies in creating exclusive digital sanctuaries, where access is invitation-only and password-protected, which will give rise to the new concept Platinum Web. This approach, already adopted in China, emphasizes exclusive experiences and events, ensuring that luxury brands retain their allure in the digital realm. By leveraging technology like Metaverse apps and augmented reality fashion shows, premium brands can foster loyalty and retention through exclusive digital experiences.

11. The omni-channel dominance continues

Omni-channel commerce has become the norm for brands, with 94% adopting this approach to meet consumer demand for seamless shopping experiences no matter where or how they shop. However, challenges arise as businesses struggle to manage the complexity of multiple channels effectively. In the same survey, 47% of business leaders expressed concerns about the proliferation of channels, finding it challenging to sell effectively across them. Additionally, 44% admitted to facing difficulties in ensuring consistent brand experiences across all channels. With emerging channels like gaming and voice assistants, brands face increasing complexity in maintaining a balanced channel mix, requiring expert guidance for success.

12. Embracing sustainability and purpose

With super-fast delivery and exceptional customer service becoming commonplace, the future of loyalty hinges more on sustainability, ethics, and purpose. Data indicates that consumers increasingly prioritize impact, with over 50% altering shopping habits due to environmental concerns. Moreover, a significant proportion prefer brands with a meaningful purpose beyond profit. Encouragingly, consumers readily embrace sustainable options when offered, such as eco-friendly delivery services. Nevertheless, while sustainability drives purchasing decisions, product quality, pricing, and service remain fundamental. Balancing these factors effectively can turn into a competitive advantage.

13. Service quality outweighs price in consumer preferences

Customers may initially be drawn by a good deal, but long-term loyalty hinges more on service quality. While price remains influential, recent data suggests that shoppers prioritize service for sustained loyalty. In surveys, service-related factors ranked high in influencing purchasing decisions, indicating a shift towards valuing service over price. Consumers express clear expectations for superior service and are willing to pay more for it, especially among younger demographics. As digital commerce expands, consumers become more discerning, emphasizing the importance of delivering exceptional service to retain customers.

14. The new CSR: ‘Consumer’ social responsibility

Excessive online shopping can serve as a coping mechanism for those grappling with depression or anxiety, yet it often exacerbates financial and mental health challenges. While industries like gambling and alcohol have taken steps to discourage harmful consumption, the responsibility of retailers in consumer well-being remains a topic of debate. Spontaneous purchases made during Black Friday and the trend of "compressed commerce" (getting from inspiration to purchase as quickly as possible) often lead to regretful impulse buys, which contrasts with efforts to promote responsible consumption. Retailers striving for long-term success must strike a balance between driving sales and showing empathy toward consumers. Purpose-driven approaches and considerate policies, such as extended return periods, resonate well with consumers seeking brands with genuine intentions.

15. Navigating the content conundrum

In the digital realm, content reigns supreme as brands vie for consumer attention. With a majority of digital shoppers seeking engaging experiences, content quality emerges as a crucial factor shaping purchasing decisions. However, meeting this demand strains content supply chains across various platforms and channels. To address this challenge, brands are turning to generative AI to streamline content production while ensuring consistency and compliance.