The global pandemic sped up retail trends that have been years in the making. It also caused totally unexpected, unpredictable changes no analyst could’ve ever anticipated. As we continue in this “new normal”, here are three trends retailers can expect to see in 2021 and beyond.
- Ecommerce boom will continue
It’s no secret that the retail industry had been riding on an upward surge of increasing the amount of ecommerce shopping. When COVID-19 shut down physical stores and ushering in the era of social distancing, the scale of ecommerce skyrocketed. Many retailers had no choice but to compete in an already crowded ecommerce space in an effort to save their business.
Still, ecommerce platforms attracted more groups of customers in 2020 and will continue to do so into 2021. For example, shopping app downloads reached 2.8 million on Black Friday – a new single-day record according to preliminary estimates from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence.
With competition fiercer than ever before, giving customers richer and more personalized shopping experiences is essential for retailers if they want to rank well on Google in 2021 and keep up with ecommerce giants.
- Online stores in offline spaces
Pre-pandemic, real estate experts predicted online brands would open roughly 850 brick-and-mortar storefronts in the coming five years. COVID-19 slowed the opening of brick-and-mortar retailers, but it certainly didn’t eliminate it all together. Today, we are seeing online brands creating offline experiences and spaces. We expect this to continue in 2021 and beyond.
Take Amazon for example. The online shopping powerhouse opened its first (of many?) Amazon Fresh Grocery Stores in September. This new storefront offers a seamless shopping experience for both online and in-person shoppers.
- Some changes may not stick
Pivoting was the arguably the most important pandemic skill for retailers. From curbside pickup to contactless payments, the purpose of local stores changed (and fast). As vaccination rates continue to rise and cases continue to go down, there is wonder if all or some of these changes will become permanent.
However, the current retail environment is still encouraging click and collect purchases and social distancing. Retailers can take advantage of the in-store pickup and new brick-and-mortar stores by providing disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer at heavy-traffic areas like store entrances.
Even after the pandemic is over and the retail environment returns to a new normal, customers will still value proper sanitation and cleanliness during their shopping experience. Providing long-term clean solutions in and around your store makes a statement to customers that safety and cleanliness efforts will continue long after the pandemic.
Make your statement with PolyTec™ Clean Station Waste Containers from Commercial Zone. These durable, attractive waste containers integrate dispensers for hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and disposable gloves into their functional design. Reinforcing small ways your place of business is taking health and safety seriously makes a big impact to customers.