February 22, 2021
Today, people are changing the way they live, work, communicate, and shop. Day in and day out, the ever-changing global pandemic situation is posing new complications, obstacles, and challenges to overcome.
Despite these unpredictable times, the advancement of digital technology is taking place at a rapid pace. And, these advancements are shaping a healthy consumer-retailer relationship.
Several technologies and business trends are changing consumer behavior and proving to be a boon for retailers. These trends are shaping the way consumers are buying things or deciding what to buy.
Surprisingly, the gradual shift in consumer behavior is unearthing new retail trends. That’s why, 2021 looks like an even more promising and profitable year for merchants who are digitally native.
This article revolves around some of the hottest retail trends of 2021 that can make it an eventful year for merchants and the whole retail industry. So, without further ado, let’s have a look at them.
1. Retailers Opting for Delivery Services
Delivery services have become more popular than ever before. Established companies like GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Instacart are leading the pack by changing the ways people receive food from a restaurant or a grocery store.
Top E-commerce companies like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS are repeatedly providing delivery of goods to their customers at a rapid pace. During the pandemic, people have relied on delivery services so much that companies found themselves under strain to meet the demand.
As a result, a partnership between retailers and last-mile delivery companies is what makes sense today. If retailers want to leverage their business, retain customers, and fulfill local online orders on time, then it’s time for them to shake hands with last-mile services.
2. Online Stores to Open Offline Stores
E-commerce in 2021 will not just be about online shopping anymore. Retail industry experts have predicted that retailers will set up their businesses online and physically to meet their customers’ demands.
On the other hand, already established online stores are looking to expand their businesses by setting up traditional brick-and-mortar stores. A recent testament to this is Amazon’s 4-Star Stores, which also include Amazon Books and Amazon Go.
However, Amazon is not the only one to do this. A few online pop-up stores have also stepped foot into the physical realm of the retail industry. When we talk about the numbers of such stores, the expectations are for them to grow in the future.
The even bigger story is that these brick-and-mortar stores have a connection with their online cousin stores. For example, the Walmart retail store and the online Walmart store. The employees of the physical store are equipped with a device connected to the online Walmart store.
If a customer buys a product that is not present in the physical store location, they can receive it at their home or delivered at the chosen Walmart location. All this is possible because of the online Walmart Store.
Believe it or not, retailers now understand that consumers love to discover, select, and get their products conveniently. That’s why some experts have bold predictions that the lines between e-commerce and regular retail will soon blur.
3. Deep Retail with Artificial Intelligence
For years, marketers have been mining data from customers’ smartphones and browsers. As we move into the third decade of this century, the hunger for collecting consumer data is going to increase.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, companies will collect consumer insights more efficiently. According to Tractica, in 2025, AI revenue is expected to reach over 36 billion US dollars. Retailers are already adopting AI for an efficient supply chain.
The various AI applications that retailers use include natural language processing, 2D/3D computer vision, sensor technology, AR and VR, and robotics. Companies are using AI collected data and insights to personalize products as per customers’ requirements.
Today, artificial intelligence enables getting an intimate view of consumers and their needs. In the future, it will have access to a secure network of analytic tools, algorithms, behavioral databases, and image recognition.
All this will be combined with an Internet-of-Things ecosystem for targeting user consumption habits. However, there will always be a limit on the amount and type of data that AI can harvest. User consent will also be required.
4. Subscription Boxes Can be a Boon for Retailers
Are you among those 15% of consumers that signed up to receive recurring products in 2016? Well, if your answer is yes, then this will surely excite you. In the last five years, the subscription E-commerce industry has grown a 100%. The leading companies in this industry include the likes of Netflix and Humble Bundle.
Today, subscription E-commerce has become quite popular across the globe. Thanks to the affordable, easy, and personalized ways to shop, it’s safe to say that subscription boxes are indeed here to stay. With a steady stream of capital investments, their growth is impressive and expected to flourish in the future.
With that being said, subscription boxes have turned themselves into a niche in the market. When we talk about retail sales trends, they might prove to be the key to overcome the challenge of E-commerce in the long run.
Day-by-day, the adoption of rapid and widespread technology has made retail a volatile industry. As the global market becomes populated with younger consumers, companies avoid traditional retail tactic modes.
Retail businesses need to adapt to the change in consumer behavior to survive in the long run. As a retail business owner, staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends gives you an advantage over your competition.
These trends can help merchants and retailers make shopping a more exciting, intimate, and fulfilling experience for their customers. It seems like in 2021, merchants will finally have a lot of opportunities in front of them. If they are willing to take advantage of these opportunities, the whole retail industry is expected to thrive.
Manoj Bhatt is a professional digital marketer, blogger, and content writer working with leading merchant services provider company Host Merchant Services in the USA.