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Retail Outlook: Brick & Mortar Defies Odds, Surge Forecast For 2024

What's in store for retail in 2024? We analyze economists' forecasts, recent trends and the latest holiday sales data to look ahead at next year.

Alice Cresswell

Content Strategy Manager

A millennial born in the digital age, I grew up arrogantly thinking brick and mortar was on its last legs. Ecommerce was the way forward, and before we knew it, we’d be living in floating armchairs with everything we needed on a projected screen in front of us (think Wall-E).

Turns out, things don’t move so linearly. And while technology might evolve exactly as quickly as you expect, human nature doesn’t quite match up in rate of change. We don’t want to live isolated from others, married to a holographic screen, consuming limitlessly.

Maybe we don’t want mandated office days, but we do want to be in the office, around people, on our own terms. We want the option to shop online, but we also want to know we can head into the city to try those jeans on for size. We’ll make a day of it—see friends for coffee, go to the gym, or run some errands.

Over COVID, we hedged our bets on direct-to-consumer commerce. Big Tech like Amazon went all-in on hires during the pandemic, then made massive staff cuts when eCommerce transactions tapered off earlier than expected.

Retail giants also bet big on leisurewear—anticipating a pivot to work-from-home comfies to stick around. But it wasn’t long before they realized they’d over estimated demand. Shoppers reported seeing leisurewear littering Target shop floors, and sales abounded to move stock.

Looking ahead, what can we expect from 2024? More of the same, or a shift for the better?



Online Retail Sales: 2024 Outlook

2022 saw a contraction in online sales worldwide, but 2023 has been back to growth again—around 7%. Now, even with the possibility of recession still hanging thick in the air (will it happen? will it not?), the consumer appears to be resilient.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU, is predicting online retail sales growth globally to head back into double-digit growth (10.5%).

But the US and Western Europe will still be playing catch up, with more sluggish single digit growth than the global average. We’ll be seeing profitability pressures continue to restrict growth in the DTC space, with investors seeking better returns.


Brick and Mortar Sales: 2024 Outlook

If you’ve been following retail news, you’ll have seen Kohl’s has been suffering in eCommerce sales. Following other big brands, Kohl’s has committed to modernizing its physical presence, as well as providing offers and promotions consistently across all channels.

Consumers want brick and mortar, but they’re voting with their wallets, demanding a slick, engaging experience. Think Mecca, IKEA, Apple and LEGO.

Where SMB and mid-market retail can provide a more personal touch, retail giants are under pressure to supplement a lack of personalization with expensive tech and impressive fitouts.

EIU forecasts that brick and mortar sales will make up a whopping 85% of total retail sales in 2024. The businesses that have made it through high interest rates and rising costs will enjoy recovering foot traffic and a sales boost.

“2024 will see the strongest pace of growth for offline retail since the post-pandemic rebound of 2021,” EIU predicts.

This trend will be global. Beyond Kohls, other large retailers like Nordstrom (US) and Primark (Ireland) are planning store expansion in the US in 2024.


Overall Outlook for Retail in 2024

While the online sales forecast is still overcast, the clouds are clearing and a growth surge is on the horizon for brick and mortar.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2023 proved that the consumer is ever-resilient. We also saw that loyal customers are a critical asset to retailers—brick and mortar in particular.

Marsello’s latest data shows around half of eCommerce shoppers were repeat customers, and half new shoppers.

For brick and mortar retailers, on the other hand, repeat customers made up 80% of BFCM sales. What's more, physical retailers grew their customer databases by around 22% over Black Friday in 2023.

Loyalty programs and customer marketing will play a huge part in boosting 2024 brick and mortar sales.

Yes, that’s a pitch to start a free trial of Marsello, connect your eCommerce and POS platforms, and start syncing the last few months’ worth of sales!

In 2024, it’s time to put all that data into motion… change is coming.

Start free trial



Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

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    9 Best WooCommerce Plugins & Extensions To Grow Your Store in 2023

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    With over 800 plugins listed in the WooCommerce extension marketplace, it can be overwhelming to choose. Here are 9 plugins to grow your WooCommerce store.

    With over 800 plugins listed in the WooCommerce extension marketplace, it can be overwhelming to choose which ones to use. That's why we've compiled a list of the 9 best plugins to help you grow your WooCommerce store.

    From boosting sales and customer loyalty to improving the user experience and site performance, these plugins can help take your store to the next level in 2023.

    1. Marsello: Seamless In-store & Online Loyalty
    2. Klaviyo: Email & Text Marketing
    3. Zapier for WooCommerce
    4. WooCommerce Product Table
    5. Google Product Feed for WooCommerce
    6. LiveChat for WooCommerce
    7. Tiered Pricing Table for WooCommerce
    8. WooCommerce Wishlists
    9. Back In Stock Notifications


    9 Best WooCommerce Apps to Grow Your eCommerce Store in 2023.


    1. Marsello for WooCommerce: Seamless in-store & online loyalty

    Marsello is the best loyalty app for WooCommerce ecommerce stores

    Know your customer, no matter how they shop. Marsello is the only loyalty platform that integrates with a range of POS apps. This means you can track every sale, in-store or online, to a customer profile.

    Then, turn this 360-degree data into revenue with personalized campaigns and incentives to drive repeat sales—all with one smart loyalty marketing app.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • With a loyalty program in place, customers are more likely to return to your store and make repeat purchases in order to earn rewards.
    • Tiered rewards incentivize customers to spend more in order to reach new ‘levels’ in your loyalty program.
    • By connecting your in-store sales data and WooCommerce sales to Marsello, you’ll get deeper insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing you to optimize your marketing and maximize sales.

    From $100/month

    Start a free trial

    Recommended Loyalty Plugin for WooCommerce
    Marsello is the best loyalty platform for WooCommerce retailers who sell in-store and online. With integrated loyalty, you'll know your customer better than ever, and keep them coming back.

    Start free trial


    2. Klaviyo: Email & Text Marketing for Ecommerce


    A unified customer platform for email, SMS, and more. Klaviyo helps you convert data into personalized customer conversions with smart campaigns and automations. Whether you’re sending a drip campaign, a transactional email, or a special holiday campaign, ultra-relevant content can help you boost engagement—and earn more revenue.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • Personalized messages such as abandoned cart reminders, product recommendations, and post-purchase follow-ups can help you increase conversions.
    • The plugin allows you to sync your customer and order data and create more personalized and targeted campaigns.
    • Automation tools such as follow-up emails can help you automate your marketing workflows and drive more sales.

    Pricing: From $0/month (pricing scales with your business)

    View on the WooCommerce Marketplace


    3. Zapier for WooCommerce


    Zapier enables you to connect your WooCommerce store to over 2,000 apps, automating tasks such as order processing, customer data management, and shipping notifications.

    How it helps you drive sales:

    • You can create custom workflows based on triggers and actions, such as sending a discount code to a customer who abandons their cart or adding a customer to a specific email list when they make a purchase.
    • Automated workflows can help you increase conversions and drive more sales.

    Pricing: $59/annum

    View on the WooCommerce Marketplace


    4. WooCommerce Product Table


    The WooCommerce Product Table plugin displays products in a table format, allowing customers to view multiple products at once and compare them side by side.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • Customers can filter and sort products based on various criteria, making it easier for them to find what they are looking for and reducing the likelihood of them leaving your store without making a purchase.
    • The plugin is mobile-friendly and responsive, providing a seamless shopping experience for customers on all devices. Using the WooCommerce Product Table plugin can enhance the user experience on your store, increase conversions, and drive more sales.

    Paid plans start from $59/month.

    View in the WooCommerce Marketplace


    5. Google Product Feed for WooCommerce

    Google Product Feed

    This plugin creates a product feed for your WooCommerce store that can be used to advertise your products on Google Shopping, allowing you to reach a broader audience and increase sales.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • This plugin can be used to increase your visibility and drive more traffic to your store.
    • It ensures that your product data is accurate, complete, and relevant, which Google favors.
    • You can easily manage your product listings and make changes to your data as needed.
    • You can tap into a large audience of potential customers who are actively searching for products online.


    View listing in WooCommerce Marketplace


    6. LiveChat for WooCommerce

    Live chat

    LiveChat provides real-time customer support and engagement through live chat, improving customer satisfaction and retention.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • Live chat support provides immediate and personalized support to customers, which can increase customer satisfaction and ultimately drive more sales and repeat business.

    From $20/month.

    View in WooCommerce Marketplace


    7. Tiered Pricing Table For WooCommerce

    tiered pricing table

    Easily set up individual pricing for various quantity ranges, and your customers can see instantly how the price for one item changes depending on the quantity they have chosen.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • The plugin allows you to offer bulk discounts to customers who purchase larger quantities of your products.
    • By offering these discounts, you can incentivize customers to purchase more products from your store, which will increase your sales and revenue.


    View in WooCommerce Marketplace


    8. WooCommerce Wishlists


    This plugin enables your customers to create and manage wishlists on your WooCommerce store, increasing engagement and encouraging customers to return to your store to make a purchase.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • When a customer creates a wishlist on your site, they are more likely to return to your store to purchase the items they have saved.
    • By allowing customers to share their wishlists with friends and family, your products get more visibility and can attract new customers to your store.


    View on WooCommerce Marketplace


    9. Back In Stock Notifications

    back in stock

    The Back In Stock Notifications plugin allows customers to sign up for alerts when a product they are interested in is back in stock. This can help you gauge demand for out-of-stock products and drive sales when those products become available again.

    How it can help drive sales:

    • By providing customers with the ability to receive notifications when a product they want is back in stock, you can increase the likelihood of them making a purchase and help prevent them from going to a competitor.
    • The plugin integrates with popular email marketing platforms such as Klaviyo, allowing you to easily send targeted emails to customers who have expressed interest in specific products.
    • By providing customers with a way to receive notifications when a product is back in stock, you can build stronger relationships with them and encourage repeat business.


    View on the WooCommerce Marketplace


    So, which WooCommerce plugins should I install?

    Whether you're a new eCommerce entrepreneur or an established WooCommerce store owner, you'll want to take advantage of the many great apps the WooCommerce Marketplace has to offer.

    Before you start your Marketplace search, we suggest you take a moment to reflect on your business goals and needs. Ask yourself these simple questions:

    1. What challenges am I facing as a WooCommerce business?
    2. What specific tools do I need to address my problems?
    3. What does my ideal state look like, and will this plugin help me get there?
    4. Does this app have what I need, what is the cost, and am I willing to pay for it?

    By answering these questions, you'll gain a clearer understanding of your business objectives, and it will become easy to choose the plugins that align best with your goals.

    Remember, with the right tools at your disposal, you'll be poised for success and ready to take your WooCommerce store to new heights. Best of luck with your search!

    Next read: 7 Steps To A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

    Seamless in-store & online loyalty for WooCommerce
    Marsello is the best loyalty platform for WooCommerce retailers who sell in-store and online. With integrated loyalty, you'll know your customer better than ever, and keep them coming back.

    Start free trial

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