Four Emerging Digital Trends for 2023 and Beyond
We’ve taken a trip to the Yoyo oracle and tapped into what you can expect to feature heavily over the coming year and beyond.
As a digital-first design agency, it’s our job to be the experts and stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry so that we can help our partners achieve their goals. We’ve taken a trip to the Yoyo oracle, tapped into what’s keeping the digital world spinning, and distilled our thoughts on what themes and topics brands and businesses alike can expect to feature heavily over the coming year and beyond.
Novel virtual spaces
Digital spaces are becoming digital landmarks at an ever increasing rate - destinations, rather than waypoints. Whilst the purpose of the high street, as we know it, continues to (d)evolve, the array of opportunities for your digital storefront to become a landmark for your target customer cannot go unnoticed. We take a look at how novel virtual spaces are emerging in reality.
Jumping the virtual wall
What’s most exciting about virtual spaces is the opportunity to showcase an appetite for innovation. From the Metaverse to traditional video games, brands operating at the cutting edge of tech and showcasing their products in imaginative formats have the freedom to tell their story with greater originality and authenticity. Although novel eCommerce environments remain in their wild-west phase, and due the relative inaccessibility of the Metaverse, it’s worthwhile experimenting with consumers in untapped digital spaces.
Fashion in Decentraland
In March 2022, Metaverse held its first entirely digital Fashion Week. Over 60 brands took part in the virtual reality event - powered by the Ethereum blockchain - and users were available to buy clothing and accessories in their digital and physical form. This year’s event will feature collections from DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Paco Rabanne, and Dolce & Gabbana.
The kids are all grown up. Brands that know it excel
Moschino, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga all featured their most affordable pieces this year - in video games. Back in 2019 Louis Vuitton kicked off the trend with a collaboration with online video game, League of Legends. A smart move, as non-player consumers were largely uninformed, the fashion house tapped into a staggering 117 million active monthly players.
As Christian Allaire predicted for Vogue year, “It’s a new trend, but it’s not a trend that’s going to die; It’s only getting more popular,” says Jo-Ashley Robert, an associate producer for Dead By Daylight who oversees the creation of characters and cosmetics. “For players, it’s a type of expression and immersion. By dressing your character how you want, it pushes the imagination a little further.”
As customer confidence and familiarity with virtual reality grows, and more brands expand into online recreational spaces, there is a clear opportunity to reach new user bases looking to connect with forward thinking brands.
The race to Net-Zero
The bottom line with sustainability is that there is no finish line. Oh no, the cat’s out of the bag. For too long, the strategies to lessen businesses’ impact on the environment and people have fallen short because they have been relegated to tick box activity. Consumers care more, they’re savvy and don’t like being taken for a ride. Brands that are privy to this fact are well-positioned to stay afloat in the ‘race’ to net-zero and beyond. What does this all mean, though?
The rehearsal is over
As of the end of 2022, 1000 Companies now hold B-Corp Certification - the world-leading sustainability accreditation. New boundaries were drawn too as, in a publicised move, Brew Dog lost its B-Corp status. This can be seen as a symptom of the growing critical masses becoming more aware and discerning of companies who wish to benefit from promises of ethical practice. The net-zero promise is no longer a stand-out statement, but is quickly becoming a bare minimum expectation from consumers. What will help businesses stand out in the next few years, are those who can provide authentic good news.
Trusted accreditations are only half of the story. Customers consciously choose brands that have genuinely environmentally considerate and responsible business practices as well as a passion for a high standard of ethical business practice.
Electrification & expanding the IoT
USB charging points in the back of bus seats, NFC loyalty cards and free public wifi; there are a plethora of consumer-focussed strategies to keep people connected than ever before. Digital is becoming increasingly integrated with the physical world and brands are beginning to take advantage of this trend to set themselves apart from the rest.
In the race to phase out fossil fuels and compounded by the war-driven energy crisis across Europe, electric vehicles have accelerated innovation in electric battery technologies. We’re seeing this trend of ‘electrification’ join forces with an increased use of IoT technology to birth exciting new consumer goods. One of the most recent examples being the Nike Adapt training shoes which pair with the user's mobile app, allowing them to control their shoe’s exact fit. With wireless charging and indicator lights in the base of the shoe, it’s an example of the sticky note principle - integrating technologies that are new enough to excite consumers, but old enough to benefit from familiarity of use.
Smart retail experiences
Last year Walmart acquired Zeekit, a virtual fitting room platform. What makes this platform different is that it doesn’t require users to input measurements, but extracts all it needs from photos - a boon for convenience. The catch is, that the platform requires users to take a photo of themselves scantily clad, which would understandably garner some hesitancy. Brands which solve user anxieties and pain points that emerge with new technologies, stand to position themselves as forward thinking pioneers in a growing space.
We’ve seen other footwear related brands experimenting with online fit tools that utilise the new hardware that users have in their pockets, in particular the lidar scanners found on the newest models of iphone.
We’ve been working with Vivobarefoot to lower the barrier of entry for their minimal shoes through a digital transition tool. It goes to show that brands which harbour a progressive and innovative mindset, are well positioned to push boundaries and solve users’ problems without the same barriers that antiquated businesses may face.
Omnichannel community building
How often do you book your flights, or even your holiday accommodation, on your phone? Or do you jump onto your laptop to seal the deal? This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to omnichannel experiences online. There is a growing expectation that your digital presence will respond to the variety of devices we live on these days. We’ve had a look at the numbers and they’re pretty convincing…
Users expect seamless, omnichannel experiences
In 2021, the number of consumers purchasing products on their smartphone at least once a week rose to 42%, doubling since 2019. The pandemic forced many of the remaining desktop-only outliers to get comfortable with mobile experiences; however that doesn’t mean the end of desktop eCommerce. This change has created a growing demand for a cohesive omnichannel experience. As users expect to be able to seamlessly switch between devices without the need to backtrack or slow their shopping journey. The catch is that this will likely expand to include new technologies such as virtual reality, and augmented reality.
Brands that take advantage of omnichannel experiences are likely to out-compete their rivals. Ensuring your brand catches and converts your customers at the right time will be essential to build a community of loyal evangelists.
Trends and technologies come and go, but what’s clear is a change in consumer expectations. Brands operating at the cutting edge set the bar high. If you’re like us and are attracted to anything new and shiny - no, we’re not magpies - get in touch and find out how the team at Yoyo can help you stay ahead of the game.