The impact of 2021 was felt hardest by local independent retailers that do not boast the contingency plans or day you need it funds of big-box counterparts. Regardless, they innovated to adjust to the challenge.
Innovation isn't solely for big-box retailers. In fact, smaller,
independent retailers have the ability to be more adaptable and flexible in
adopting the strategies customers need in 2021. So, as you're mapping out your
retail strategy this year, here are a few trends to help you stay ahead of the
An increased focus on health and safety over last year, coupled with demand for more flexible payment options, caused a substantial jump in the popularity of contactless payments. Using more than 83 per cent of point-of-sale card transactions being contactless, it's not a trend we expect to subside soon. Shoppers are searching for added convenience and quicker processing times whatsoever points of the retail experience, and contactless payments enable retailers to deliver a clean, quick and convenient payment process. If you are yet to introduce contactless payments in your store, consider popping it at the top of your resolutions this year.
The pandemic-induced spike in shopping online generated an 82 percent increase in e-commerce, which simultaneously prompted an increase in delivery volumes. Due to delayed delivery times, shoppers looked to alternative options, such as click and collect and curbside pick-up, to ensure timely, convenient delivery. These alternative options will likely become the norm, as shoppers search for more convenient, cost- and time-effective options. Introducing flexible delivery and returns options goes a long way to boosting client satisfaction and convenience, long after payment is created.
of personalisation technology
Innovative retail tech made to deliver outstanding, personalised customer experiences ought to be a key focus too. While,like a small retailer, you might not be able to compete with the large retailers on price and product variety, the ability to be nimble and deliver personalised, delightful experiences is valued greatly by consumers. Innovative retail tech for example online consultations and virtual reality, combined with cloud-based point-of-sale systems that provide valuable customer insights, will take your customer experience one stage further.
focus on direct-to-consumer models
With the rise of e-commerce platforms and social networking features such as Instagram Shopping, the number of direct-to-consumer brands has spiked recently. Last year's lockdowns accelerated this, encouraging retailers to deal with social media like storefront, selling directly to their engaged audience. This trend continues in 2021, with social media shopping set to become key to promoting direct-to-consumer brands because they expand their shopping features. Recognising the significance of your digital presence, and showcasing your products directly to consumers gives you additional control, on more platforms, and ensures greater shopper satisfaction as a result.
the in-store experience
As much as innovative retail tech should be front of mind in 2021, e-commerce isn't replacing bricks-and-mortar, but enhancing it. Google research reveals the volume of “Can I/to buy” searches + “near me” has increased sixfold in the last two years, so don't disregard the power of a physical presence in engaging with shoppers and providing delightful experiences in person. Use personalisation, click and collect and other methods to encourage people to visit your store. After all, following 2021, delightful face-to-face experience may go a long way in re-establishing our quest for normality.
After the world changed in 2021, 2021 is about developing the savvy, safe
and complicated processes your customers need. By considering these trends as
you're mapping your retail strategy, you might find it that tiny bit
easier to provide the delightful, personalised retail experiences shoppers will
long for years to come.