Retail Trends 2021: What are they and how you can adapt

Retail Trends 2021: What are they and how you can adapt

In a fast-moving retail world, you need to stay informed about changes and new trends, and you need the ability to adapt quickly to them. Here are 5 trends and how you can adapt to accommodate them.

Trend #1: Shoppers Are As Smart As You And Your Sales Team

Your customers have easy access to information and can do their own research—which they do. In fact, according to GE Shopper, 81 percent check products online before going to a store, and they spend an average of 79 days gathering information regarding major purchases.

Your salespeople must be knowledgeable about your products, ready provide detailed information including what options are available in your stores. Don’t skimp on continuous employee training, and provide technology like a mobile POS directly connected to your inventory so your employees don’t have to memorize an entire catalog.

Trend #2: Omni-channel Is Here To Stay

Today’s shopper uses several channels to research, find deals/coupons, purchase, and pick up (or get delivered). In fact, they don’t even think in terms of channels; they just select the experience that is most convenient (for example, I have poor eyesight, so “shopping” on my smart phone is not good for me, but I will make purchases there). Sadly, Periscope reported that 78 percent of retailers admit that they are still unable to offer a unified brand experience across all channels. 

Start working immediately on providing a consistent experience on all touchpoints (mobile, online, stores, social media, etc.), which might involve changing your culture and implementing unified commerce technology so you can you keep track of how your customers behave and keep tabs on your inventory.

Trend #3: eCommerce is No Longer Optional

This is probably not a surprise, but consider this: In 2014, online retail sales made up only 5.9 percent of total retail sales. In 2021, that number jumped to 16 percent; Nasdaq predicts it will increase to more than 95 percent by 2040. In short, eCommerce is not only not going anywhere; it is now not really an option.

The first step—and it’s an urgent one—is to get an eCommerce site up and running. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure customers can easily find you on search engines and social media.
  • Make sure your online and offline presence are consistent in terms of branding and experience.
  • Make sure the overall experience on your eCommerce fulfills customer demands regarding security, ease of use, searchability, ordering, shipping, and delivery.
  • Make sure you have technology on your eCommerce to drive customers to your stores.

Trend #4: Customer Reviews Rule

Reviews are much more powerful than you might think; they can drive or kill your business. According to BrightLocal, 87 percent of people use online reviews as one of their criteria, and 92 percent are less likely to use a business with negative reviews. Here’s the scariest statistic: 52 percent say they won’t even consider using a business that is rated less than four stars. In short, if you ignore reviews, you’re in trouble.

To increase positive reviews, encourage your “fans” to post reviews by starting dialogs with online communities who use your product, but also give them a reason to do it. Promote positive reviews, but more importantly, respond politely to negative reviews because people want to know they’re being listened to, and you value their opinions. Maritz and Evolve24 reported that 83 percent of people who got a response to a complaint said they were satisfied just by being listened to – even if their problem wasn’t solved. Of course, you should also do something about those negative reviews. They provide valuable feedback that can improve your business.

Trend #5: There Are (Still) Too Many Ads

Even back in the days before social media, people complained of being exposed to too many ads. People have become desensitized and ignore most of these communications. Studies find that you have just eight seconds at the most to catch your audience’s attention, and Forrester found that more than half of consumers they interviewed said the offers they get from retailers are of no value to them.

Today, it is critical to personalize offers and messages. Optimize all your touchpoints, focusing on collecting customer data, which you can use to provide each shopper with relevant ads and offers. To do this, you need a unified commerce system and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, which will help you collect that data and then analyze it.

Retail is evolving at warp speed, and you need to keep up to stay in business. Explore what LS Retail has to offer to empower you to realize your unified commerce goals.

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