What’s shaping the future of retail with NRF’s Susan Reda

Retail Gets Real episode 294: Exploring Gen Alpha, nearshoring, small concept stores, the metaverse and Web3

If there is one true constant in retail, it’s that the industry is always changing. That means making predictions on the trends that will shape retail over the next 12 months is an especially daunting task.

But NRF’s Susan Reda has always been up to it. “I’m always going to be a student of this industry. I read and read and read — more than I can imagine sometimes — but that’s how you immerse yourself in this industry,” Reda, NRF’s vice president of education strategy, says on this week’s episode of NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast.

“I start thinking about predictions in earnest in August, and I have a file that I’m putting stuff in and starting to process what the future looks.”

NRF 2023

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Each year, Reda puts on her prognosticator hat and shares her retail predictions for the year ahead. For 2023, retail is all about evolution and adaptation.

“There is nothing rote about retail. Yes, we open the doors every day, and we welcome customers in, [but] they’re never the same customers, the merchandise is always changing, our approach to business strategy is always changing,” she says. “I think that if you got too comfortable and you thought you knew what retail was all about, wow, did 2022 shake you up! It is not what you thought it was.”

The current retail transformation has a lot to do with a new generation of consumers. “The customer is changing. Gen Z made us rethink a whole lot of things. It’s really interesting that that demographic and the one that will follow them, Gen A, they want to put their own creativity and stamp on things,” she says. “They’re very interesting shoppers because they’re obviously digital natives and into their smartphones, but at the same time, they are very interested in analog experiences.”

Read Reda’s list of 2023 retail predictions here and listen to the full podcast to hear more of her observations on Gen A shoppers, why retailers are opening smaller concept stores, how two years of supply chain disruptions actually led to delivery innovations, the importance of Web3 for retailers — and, yes, retail in the metaverse.


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