retail trends in 2022

This article delves into the prevailing trends shaping the retail industry, navigates the intricate landscape, and unveils the pivotal role SAP solutions play in driving success amidst such dynamism. Discover how SAP's innovative solutions are intricately woven into the fabric of the retail revolution, enabling businesses to adapt, thrive, and deliver unparalleled value to their customers in this ever-evolving marketplace.

Boosting Retail: Embracing 6 Technology Trends for 2024

The retail sector has undergone significant upheavals, propelled by shifts in consumer behavior, technological advancements, and the dynamic nature of the market. Faced with these transformative forces, retailers have expediently reexamined their strategies to cultivate and maintain customer loyalty. 

This article delves into the prevailing trends shaping the retail industry, navigates the intricate landscape, and unveils the pivotal role SAP solutions play in driving success amidst such dynamism. Discover how SAP's innovative solutions are intricately woven into the fabric of the retail revolution, enabling businesses to adapt, thrive, and deliver unparalleled value to their customers in this ever-evolving marketplace.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI has played a pivotal role in the digital transformation of the retail sector, revolutionizing speed, efficiency, and accuracy across various business processes. Rather than replacing human employees, AI empowers businesses by providing relevant data for informed decision-making and personalized customer experiences. Retailers are increasingly leveraging AI-driven technologies that include:

Chatbots and conversational AI:

  • Adoption of Chat GPT-like technologies that enable chatbots to recognize and respond to human language more naturally.
  • Implementation of conversational AI to imitate support staff conversations, providing real-time assistance and personalized product recommendations.

Price adjustments and forecasting:

  • Use of AI algorithms for dynamic price adjustments by visualizing outcomes of various pricing strategies.
  • Integration of AI-driven forecasting tools that consider demand, seasonal trends, and product release dates to optimize pricing strategies.

Search by image:

  • Integration of AI-powered visual search capabilities that allow customers to upload images of desired products and find similar items within the store's inventory.
  • Enhanced customer experience through efficient and visually-driven product discovery.

Virtual fitting rooms and Augmented Reality (AR):

  • Implementation of AI in virtual fitting rooms enables clients to virtually try on outfits and save time in the decision-making process.
  • Utilization of AI-driven AR technology enhances the overall online shopping experience, particularly in the fashion and apparel retail sector. 


SAP offers various AI-driven solutions that retailers can leverage to enhance operations, improve customer experiences, and drive business growth. Here are a few  for you to explore:

  • AI in SAP S/4HANA: SAP S/4HANA, SAP's next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, incorporates AI and machine learning capabilities to optimize various business processes. For retailers, this could mean improved demand forecasting, inventory management, and supply chain optimization through intelligent automation and analytics.
  • AI in SAP Analytics Cloud: SAP Analytics Cloud integrates AI and machine learning for advanced analytics and business intelligence. Retailers can use this solution to gain insights into customer behavior, analyze sales performance, and make data-driven decisions. Predictive analytics capabilities can assist in anticipating trends and optimizing inventory levels.
  • AI in SAP Ariba: SAP Ariba, a procurement and supply chain management solution, integrates AI to optimize supplier management, automate procurement processes, and enhance decision-making. This can contribute to more efficient and cost-effective supply chain operations for retailers.


Personalization is a pivotal strategy in the dynamic retail landscape, tailoring approaches to individual customers throughout their interaction cycle. Retailers enhance customer loyalty and elevate shopping experiences by leveraging historical and personal data and product and customer analytics.

Data utilization:

  • Retailers analyze historical and personal data, shaping individual customer journeys.
  • Personal data, including past purchases and browsing behavior, creates highly relevant interactions.

Analytics insight:

  • Advanced analytics tools delve into customer behavior, offering valuable insights into product performance and preferences.
  • Fine-tuned offerings based on analytics align with evolving trends and consumer demands.
  • Solutions like SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Business Intelligence (BI) empower businesses to gather, visualize, and analyze data comprehensively.

CRM solutions:

  • CRM solutions like SAP CRM facilitate seamless interactions that comprehensively perceive individual preferences.
  • Managing and analyzing customer interactions throughout the lifecycle ensures personalized engagement.


Omnichannel Approach

The omnichannel approach prioritizes consistent customer service across various platforms, be it mobile applications, websites, or physical stores. According to a Harvard Business Review study, 73% of consumers say they use multiple channels during their shopping journey; an omnichannel strategy focuses on enhancing overall customer experience and offers benefits like increased traffic, sales, and customer loyalty.

SAP Commerce Cloud, for instance, integrates with various channels, including online storefronts, mobile applications, and brick-and-mortar stores to ensure a unified and cohesive customer journey. This integrated approach allows retailers to provide a consistent brand experience regardless of the touchpoint, meeting the expectations of today's digitally connected consumers.

One of the key advantages of SAP in the omnichannel landscape is its ability to centralize customer data. SAP solutions enable retailers to gather and analyze customer information from different channels in real-time. This 360-degree view of customer interactions empowers retailers to personalize marketing efforts, tailor product recommendations, and anticipate customer needs across various touchpoints. By leveraging SAP's omnichannel capabilities, retailers can create a more personalized and responsive shopping experience, fostering customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Moreover, SAP's omnichannel solutions extend beyond customer-facing interactions to optimize backend operations. Inventory management, order fulfillment, and supply chain processes are seamlessly integrated, ensuring that retailers can efficiently meet customer demands regardless of the channel through which they engage. This end-to-end integration enhances operational efficiency and contributes to a more agile and adaptive retail ecosystem.

Return Process Incentives

In the dynamic retail landscape, return process incentives have emerged as a crucial tool for enhancing customer engagement. Recent trends indicate that returns have more than doubled compared to previous years, underscoring the need for brands to establish positive connections with customers who may be at risk of abandoning their brand allegiance.

SAP's suite of innovative solutions plays a pivotal role in addressing the specific challenges associated with return processes. For example, the integration of SAP Customer Experience solutions, such as SAP Commerce Cloud, enables businesses to streamline operations, identify patterns in return data, and design targeted incentive programs. By leveraging SAP's capabilities, retailers can not only enhance the efficiency of their return processes but also gain valuable insights into customer behavior, enabling them to craft more personalized and effective return incentives. 

In-store Efficiency

According to Pew Research Center, 64% of US shoppers indicate that they prefer buying from physical stores. Brands, recognizing that consumers are not yet ready to abandon the allure of the high street, are strategically adapting. Retail giants such as Kohl’s, Target, and Barnes and Noble have set their sights on opening smaller-format stores in 2023, a testament to the enduring appeal of brick-and-mortar retail spaces.

Amidst these shifts, one constant remains paramount: the centrality of an exceptional customer experience in in-store shopping. This enduring truth is not only a current trend but is projected to be a cornerstone of future retail dynamics. It is against this backdrop that SAP's innovative solutions come into play, particularly with respect to ensuring product availability. SAP Integrated Business Planning (SAP IBP), a comprehensive solution that aligns demand, supply, and inventory planning, equips retailers with the tools to optimize stock levels. By leveraging predictive analytics, retailers can anticipate consumer demand more accurately, reducing the risk of stockouts and ensuring a seamless and satisfying in-store shopping experience. 

Sustainable Shopping

Sustainable shopping has rapidly emerged as a significant trend in the retail landscape, driven by a growing consumer awareness of environmental issues and a desire to make ethical choices. A pivotal indicator of this trend is the finding that 58% of consumers express a willingness to pay more for eco-friendly products. This shift in consumer behavior reflects a broader commitment to sustainability and ethical consumption, prompting retailers to reevaluate their practices to align with the values of their eco-conscious clientele.

In response to this trend, SAP offers innovative sustainability solutions that empower retailers to seamlessly integrate sustainability into their operations. SAP S/4HANA, with its advanced analytics capabilities, allows businesses to track and analyze their environmental impact throughout the supply chain. This includes monitoring carbon emissions, water usage, and other key sustainability metrics. Additionally, SAP Ariba enables retailers to make sustainable sourcing decisions by providing insights into the environmental and social practices of suppliers. By incorporating these solutions, retailers can not only meet the demands of eco-conscious consumers but also demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability throughout their business processes.

Moreover, SAP's broader suite of sustainability solutions, such as SAP Sustainability Control Tower, assists retailers in comprehensively monitoring and managing their sustainability performance. This centralized platform allows businesses to track, measure, and report on various sustainability metrics, fostering transparency and accountability. As sustainable shopping continues to gain momentum, SAP solutions empower retailers to not only meet consumer expectations but also contribute to a more sustainable and responsible global supply chain.

Our Cases

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Case 1. Omnichannel solution for an international developer and manufacturer

The LeverX project helped to improve customer interactions and sales processes by creating a global E-commerce platform based on Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) and SAP Hybris Commerce.

The result?

  • Robust E-commerce platform with tailored product catalogs
  • Refined demand forecasting
  • Data silos eliminated
  • Streamlined data collection and processing
  • Cost-effective data aggregation and visualization
  • Customer experience improvement
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Case 2. Marketing and HR processes transformation for a leading food retailer

We helped our customer increase profits from product sales by customizing SAP solutions. The stock balance and all merchandising processes are now presented on timely reports and convenient dashboards.

The result?

  • Tailored adjustments to the existing SAP solutions
  • Distribution processes optimization
  • Effective personnel evaluation processes and training
  • Advanced batch tracking features
  • Calculation of the stock balance volumes
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The Bottom Line

Our dedicated team is committed to offering insights into the dynamic landscape of the retail industry and providing tailored solutions that foster sustainable growth. We understand the challenges and opportunities presented by the evolving retail ecosystem and are poised to collaborate with you to maximize your potential. By sharing your specific requirements, you open the door to a partnership that goes beyond conventional solutions, ensuring that your retail business not only adapts but thrives in the face of industry transformations. Let's embark on this journey together, forging a path toward lasting success in the ever-changing retail landscape.

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