The pandemic is changing our lifestyles and habits, including our shopping habits. In 2020, online sales amounted to $189 billion, which is 33% more than in 2019.
Retail is flexible in responding to audience requests and it's possible to predict the growth of online sales. This state of affairs actively affects offline: formats and approaches are changing. We tell you about the top 5 retail trends in 2021.
Buy, rent, subscribe, or purchase a supported item? Now this decision is completely up to the client. Macy’s, Walmart, Nordstrom and other global retailers already provide a similar choice.
Therefore companies not only adjust their business model to the demands of an endless series of lockdowns, but also take care of their audience. For example, allowing a person not to purchase a product at full cost that he will use several times.
Marketplaces and storefronts will turn into places to fulfill online orders. This will help to become more mobile, as well as to solve the problem with paying rent and technical support.
Apple already uses retail stores to process online orders. Although this step was taken before the global pandemic, it's now helping the company to maintain a leadership position.
E-commerce is gaining traction, but physical stores will not disappear in the coming years. What exactly will happen — is new concepts and formats of familiar trading platforms. Walmart is a good example. The American chain has announced the transformation of more than two hundred supercenters into stores that are more likely to resemble airports. More space, more visible signage, contactless checkouts and more.
The combination of physical stores and online platforms will create a hybrid retail model. The new format stores will allow customers to first try out the product and then place an online order. A good example is Canada Goose with the Arctic Room, where the company recreated real winter conditions in the Arctic Circle.
Partnerships with delivery services will allow retailers to save on shipping. We can already see impressive results from companies like FedEX, Amazon and UPS with “last mile” services.
This is the best option during a pandemic — when demand for delivery sometimes exceeds supply. In parallel with the tendency of the “last mile”, representatives of the gig economy will help to cover the need to receive goods quickly. People who have their own bicycle or car are already indirectly helping to improve the service of offline retail outlets.
Retailers will partially convert communication into video calls. Now, before deciding to buy a car, the option of contacting a consultant in an online format will be available. The most obvious advantage in this innovation is flexibility. It will be possible to organize a video call outside the usual working hours from 10:00 to 18:00 on weekdays.
So far we can only imagine what the stores of the future will look like. But for sure, retailers will take the lead by introducing high technologies and flexible services.
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