The retail sector has overcome some considerable challenges in 2020. Improved technologies, evolving consumer demands, and crisis after crisis are all working together to ensure that the retail landscape of 2021 is starkly different. For retailers, that means staying one step ahead of the next big trends. By being more aware of what to expect, those retailers can stay ahead of their competitors and ensure that they are making the most of their revenue streams. If you want to see a retail outlet grow in 2021, here are the trends that you should be paying closer attention to that can improve customer satisfaction and make it easier for suppliers to be discovered by retailers.
Supply Chain Transformation
The retail supply chain has already seen some dramatic shifts thanks to new technologies. As 5G continues to roll out across the country, digital solutions to the supply chain have gained an unstoppable momentum that will cause sweeping changes. For brands not yet streamlining their supply chains, money and time are both being wasted. As retail outlets were forced to recalibrate the entire process from procurement to sourcing to being able to reduce lead times, those outlets saw savings and improved returns on their spending. In 2021, investing in logistics is one of the most important steps to take for faster and more resilient growth. Combined with the gains in sustainably, the supply chain is proving to be one of the most important and vital components of the retail sector.
A Livestreaming Ecosystem
While consumers still want the option of browsing through stores and handling their potential purchases, eCommerce is still the big winner in the retail sector. The shift to live streaming for retail brands has been slow and steady in 2020 and was largely driven by necessity. This unexpected shift has led to brands now offering live stream-generated sales, which is expected to be a huge revenue stream for retailers throughout 2021 and beyond. Consumers are increasingly digitally savvy, and they continue to want a connection to the brands that they buy from. Connecting with them via live streaming has more potential than ever, and is likely to be one of the defining (if previously unexpected), retail trends of 2021. Brands that have yet to trial live streaming events need to start taking a closer look as soon as possible.
Time Saving Resources
If there’s one thing that every retail business owner knows, it’s that time is money. The retail sector has been very fast at adopting the use of time-saving resources like the right software, apps, and platforms. The key for retailers moving forward is to pay closer attention to the new resources that are emerging all the time. While not every new technology has its place in retail, paying attention to the tech and consumer trends is always going to be a valuable use of the retailer’s time. One of the big new resources to make use of is RangeMe, as they are game-changers for small suppliers and can really help them grow. RangeMe helps connect these independent suppliers with bigger retailers, such as Target, to give them the opportunity to get their products in front of a wider audience. RangeMe streamlines this product discovery, it makes it so much easier for retailers to find unique products that they need and easier for manufacturers and suppliers to showcase what they have to sell. Take a look at the RangeMe reviews that are already making it significantly easier for retailers to keep their shelves stocked and their consumers satisfied with new products at all times. RangeMe also helps retailers by allowing them to sample the products before they commit, allowing them to assess their quality while also figuring out if it suits their target audience.
The Robot Revolution
There’s still something of the novelty about robots and autonomous vehicles in the workplace, but that novelty is becoming more commonplace. It may not be primetime quite yet, but that’s starting to change. In 2021, costs are coming down for those robotic workers, and more experimentation is already happening. While there have been other priorities in 2020, the potential for robotic resources in the retail environment continues to be enticing. From in-store robots that will solve problems accurately, repeatedly, and autonomously to drones that can shorten fulfilment time, there is much potential for robotics in retail. Big names are driving this next step in a more streamlined retail environment, with Walmart and Walgreens alike investing huge sums in driverless cars, drone deliveries, and in-store inventory management. For smaller brands, it may not yet be viable to invest in robotic replacements for customer-facing employees, but that step will come a lot closer in 2021.
Touch-Free Meets Technology
It was a necessity that drove the rapid rollout of a more touch-free retail environment. The good news is that consumers have embraced the concept of touch-free much faster and more enthusiastically than expected. Now, those consumers are using eCommerce outlets as much as physical stores, and both AR and VR have rapidly become much more widely accepted. The AR and VR tech revolution that has been promised for the last few years has seen sudden acceptability by consumers in 2020, and the following year is very likely to see much higher visibility. Virtual fitting rooms are slowly becoming the standard, which is great news for retailers hoping to reduce their product return rates. Retailers should now be looking at connecting their vital resources to social media so that consumers benefit from more interactivity and personalization.
How to Pay
Consumers are now much more reluctant to pay the full price of a product in one payment. Now, they are looking for more flexible payment options. One of the key signifiers of this is the rapid uptake in subscription services, which are becoming one of the essential must-haves for retailers right now. However, those subscriptions are not the only option, and the more creative ways that retailers offer in terms of payments, the more likely that consumers will spend. Inspired by streaming services, the notion of paying long-term for even small purchases is gaining traction like never before. With PayPal now offering their ‘Pay in 3’ option and retailers like Levi Strauss Co offering trade-in options as part payment, it’s clear that offering more creative ways to pay is more important for retailers than ever.
It’s very clear that the retail sector is not going to settle down in 2021. The more that retailers embrace innovations, new technologies, and these new trends, the more likely that 2021 will be a profitable year. While this is a sector that is always ripe with unpredictability, these are the trends that are most likely to have an impact as we head into 2021.
Bio Ryan Flannagan is the Founder and CEO of Nuanced Media, an international eCommerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced has sold $100s of millions online, and Ryan has built a client base representing a total revenue of over 1.5 billion dollars. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed and Modern Retail. To connect with Ryan, check out @Ryanflannagan on Twitter or via LinkedIn.
Manager at Research Snipers, RS-NEWS, Digital marketing enthusiast and industry professional in Digital Marketing, Social Media, Business News, and Technology News, with vast experience in the media industry, I have a keen interest in business technology, News breaking.