The COVID-19 world, largely characterized by hesitance, careful consumers, home deliveries and social distancing, has been nothing short of a nightmare. Given that measuring the magnitude of the impact on the retail sector accurately is difficult. This global health crisis is bound to have a continued impact on economies across the world and this is set to last beyond 2021. Nevertheless, coping with the evolving circumstances and coming at par with the ‘new normal’, the retail industry has been resilient and has chalked out newer strategies, revamping the industry. During the crisis, the industry has managed to re-align itself to the changing consumer behavior and evolving business environment.
Despite the uncertainties, there are some trends certain to prevail in the year 2021 and here’s a quick lowdown of the emerging trends that’s going to dominate the retail industry this year.
Omnichannel to Rule the Roost
The year 2021 will witness advanced technologies such as Robotics, AI, IoT and AR-VR moving from backend support function to frontend. It is expected to dominate the industry this year, as most retailers resort to omnichannel approach. These technologies will aid retailers in offering best of both the worlds – online and offline. These technologies will bring the comfort of online shopping in brick-and-mortar shops and the lively experience of offline shopping through e-commerce.
Prevalence of AI
As discussed, Artificial Intelligence is going to be one of the most dominant technologies to watch out for in the year 2021. Along with being used at the backend for various inventory management and logistics to drive efficiency, it will also be extensively used in the front-desk for better customer engagement with chat bots and virtual assistants. However, what’s going to be revolutionary this year is the use of Artificial Intelligence in stores as well. Retailers will be seen leveraging the power of AI marketing outreach, in view of the changing customer behavior, where they mostly prefer to stay indoors. Over and above that consumers will also be seen using AI backed voice recognition technology for get more information on their purchases both in-store and online shopping apps.
Improved Delivery Services
As the industry goes through the various phases of unlock and the competition in the market once again starts increasing, all brands will continue to thrive to be the best. With that the customer expectations are also increasing, not only in terms of excellent products, but also associated services. And the shoppers are willing to pay the extra buck. Post lockdown, faster and better delivery became an important parameter to gauge a retailer. Given that brands are leveraging this trend and are integrating delivery robots and various other order fulfilment technologies. Adding some insight, expectations of same day delivery or even faster delivery is also catching up.
Authentic Influencer Marketing
The year 2020 also observed a massive shift in the approach of influencer marketing by brands. Ditching the popular practices of carefully constructed captions and heavily edited product photos, the year 2020 witnessed a new trend of raw and real aesthetics. This trend of authenticity is likely to stay in the year 2021, factoring in the dominance of Gen – Zs in social media. Furthermore, videos will continue to garner more engagement over unanimated posts in the year 2021.