February 21, 2020
New year, new trends in the world of retail. In 2020 the retail industry experienced rapid, large-scale disruption. Due to the public health pandemic customers stayed home and moved to more online e-commerce experiences. Retail marketers are challenged by these changes and must determine how they can apply this in their marketing strategies. Besides, they need to keep an eye on the always evolving retail trends. Below we’ve listed 5 innovative retail trends in 2021.
#1 Successful retailers become experiential
The lines between online and offline commerce have been blurry for years, but now we are seeing it manifest at scale. Modern commerce seamlessly integrated the digital with the physical. For companies maintaining physical locations it’ll be key to distinguish themselves from online retailers by providing unique in-store experiences. Even though physical stores will most likely sell less, there are opportunities to provide extra value for their customers. For example by strengthening the customers’ relationship to the brand with immersive, instagrammable experiences that can bring the brand alive in a way digital means can’t. Yes, retail will continue to shift to the virtual space, but that doesn’t mean the physical space won’t remain an important one.
#2 Shopping on social media
Many social media platforms have introduced e-commerce shopping experiences, also called social commerce. This offers shoppers an even more seamless way to shop online. Instead of clicking through to a third-party website, users can make purchases right from the social media app or site. These digital platforms continue to bring the shopping experience directly to the consumers, so brands should consider how they can leverage this to gain actionable insight into their target audience for even further personalization.
#3 Even more AR-powered shopping experiences
Augmented reality (AR), machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) are here to stay. AR retail isn’t new, but it’s gone from a nice-to-have to an essential part of retailers’ e-commerce offerings. Since so many shoppers continue to rely on online shopping during the pandemic, retailers leverage AR technology to bridge the gap between the digital and physical.
#4 More payments options
Payments have undergone significant changes over the past years. From cash payments to cards, from the magnetic strip to chips and to now contactless mobile payments. In 2021 and beyond, biometrics payments on its own, and not as part of a multi-factor authentication, will gain much wider acceptance. For example a Denmark student canteen that now lets customers pay with their finger, using infrared light to map the unique pattern of the veins. Or Amazon’s new palm scanner to be used at its physical stores.
#5 The rise of subscription retail
Rather sooner than later, most people will be purchasing food, groceries, and clothing the way they access software, water, and electricity: with a subscription. Consumer preferences are shifting towards experience and away from products. A subscription model enables businesses to adapt to the changing landscape. Subscription retail is a win-win for buyers and sellers. Sellers have a more predictable flow of income and can scale better while buyers benefit from a greater shopping experience through automated buying and other perks.
2020 has brought rapid, unprecedented change across the retail industry and 2021 is shaping up to be a remarkable year for the retail and marketing industry. The trends highlighted above would have a long-term impact on business. Meaning that retail marketers must be prepared to adapt to the changes and resulting trends if they want to maintain a competitive edge in the 2021 marketplace.
Innovative Retail Trends to Watch in 2021. Tintuiti. https://tinuiti.com/blog/ecommerce/retail-trends-emerging/
Five retail and marketing trends for 2021. ClickZ. https://www.clickz.com/five-retail-and-marketing-trends-for-2021/264365/
5 Retail Marketing Trends to Consider in 2021. Marketing Evolution. https://www.marketingevolution.com/knowledge-center/retail-marketing-trends-2020