Retail CX trends for 2023: Messaging and self-service should be top priorities

After a challenging 2022 that brought growing inventories, an uncertain economy, and other challenges, retailers are looking to the new year—and sizing up the challenges and opportunities 2023 will bring.

Shoppers want interactions to be faster, easier, and more personalised than ever, yet retailers must try to meet these growing demands while cutting costs wherever they can.

As 2023 begins, make sure your customer experience (CX) strategy is focused around your customers’ top intents—the reasons they’re interacting with your brand. The top 10 retail customer intents, according to a TTEC analysis of more than 1 billion conversations, are:

  • request a refund
  • check order status
  • ask about shipping or pickup
  • cancel an order
  • request product specs
  • schedule a consult
  • purchase product
  • ask about a discount or promotion
  • cancel a subscription
  • return or replace a product

Once you have a firm grasp on customer intent, the right mix of people and technology can help you improve your customer journey, retain top employees, and keep costs in line.

Messaging becomes the go-to CX channel
Shoppers want to interact with retailers on their own terms and their own time, which is why messaging is becoming the fastest-growing channel of choice. Messaging gives customers more control over interactions, even letting them pause a conversation if they need to and come back to it when it’s convenient for them.

Messaging delivers speed, efficiency, and results other channels just can’t match when it comes to handling customer enquiries—and it’s well-equipped to handle retail’s top intents. It enables quicker and better customer experiences, lets associates service multiple customers concurrently, reduces wait times, and drives more conversions—all while reducing costs.

Adding messaging to your CX mix (or improving how you’re using it) will lead to happier customers who are more likely to keep shopping with you. Most consumers (72%) say they’re more likely to shop from a company that communicates with them about their products in real time, with a real employee, via messaging, according to Avochado. Companies that don’t have a strong messaging strategy will lose out to those that do.

Help customers help themselves
Shoppers increasingly want to find the information and answers they need themselves, so make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for. Intelligent automation lets shoppers handle simple, transactional tasks on their own, freeing your associates up to focus on more complex interactions that need a human touch.

More than two-thirds of customers (69%) want to resolve as many issues as possible on their own, through self-service methods, according to Zendesk, so brands that invest in these types of tools should see great ROI.

Along with traditional self-service solutions, augmented reality is poised to become a become a bigger component of self-service options in 2023 and beyond as consumers seek more immersive ways to interact with brands. This is bringing many opportunities for retailers to get creative.

These are just a couple of the trends we’re predicting for retailers. For more on what to expect in 2023, the insights driving these trends, and what it means for your business, check out our strategy guide, “CX Trends 2023: 10 predictions shaping the evolution of customer and employee experience.”