Summarizing the 2022 NRF conference: 4 trends that will shape the future of retail

New technologies and shifting consumer preferences are causing a transformation in #retail — and though it’s impossible to predict the future, we’ve seen the emergence of a few macro trends that will shape up the retail space.

As online shopping continues to change how and where consumers purchase their products, retailers will continue their transformation into e-commerce-centric companies. But from 2022 onwards, we will see the growing importance of hybrid experiences that replicate the consumer experience by blending digital content with physical displays.

Digital acquisition has massively outperformed expectations since 2020 — but it has been constrained by supply-chain issues:

👉 Demand generation isn’t as steady as it used to be and surges on digital platforms have become the norm. Supply-chain solutions will play a key role in helping brands better forecast demand and anticipate/react to demand surges without locking in additional working capital. Enter the factory of the future: flexible and fully integrated, with machines linked by data, algorithms predicting demand and capable of producing on demand with up-cycled materials. S/o to our portfolio company TEKYN for enabling on-demand production for the garment industry.

Legacy players can no longer think of and structure e-commerce as its own channel and team. Beyond this, the days of successful standalone lookalike campaigns and CAC-focused growth are gone:

👉 Customers are more thoughtful about who they give their data to, and expect a heightened level of customization in return. Brands will need to both build cross-channel experiences and improve their understanding of the customer across those spaces. Excited to announce our next bet in the space to address this issue.

While tastemakers are slowly asserting their position as the gateway to new audiences, the affiliate relationship will need to evolve to properly reward their participation in the product discovery:

👉 Non-fungible mechanisms will give brands the opportunity to reward their promoters with governance rights and community access. The next frontier in consumer experiences is the creation of tiered participation for their users. Every consumer will eventually be able to become an affiliate of the brand they love.

Winning brands will need to adopt a test-and-learn mentality around web3.

👉 The recent NFT craze highlights that consumers want more ownership and a different relationship with brands. While the NFTs they’ve issued are currently one-dimensional in nature, there is an opportunity to build upon this by creating multi-dimensional relationships. Amit Shah said it perfectly — brands that wait on the sidelines will miss the train. Today, speed and agility are rewarded because these brands show an inherent ability to listen to the consumer.

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Julien Lepleux

Julien Lepleux

VC Investor at Bleu Capital | I invest with Bleu Capital into the backbone of commerce and (sometimes) consumer brands.