Let’s talk about retail trends of 2021 and discuss how the shift that happened in 2020 with the pandemic knocking on the door changed the future of retail sales.
Last year has changed consumer buying behavior dramatically. The tremendous growth in online shopping brought those futuristic trends predictions right to the table: shopping online as the only option available.
1. In-store Shopping Experience
The pandemic drastically influenced customers’ “at the shop” experience by adding extra hygiene steps, seizing the number of people who can visit the store simultaneously, and also by an inability to visit the stores at all.
With that being said, at the beginning of 2021, we could assume that the retail trends of 2021 would slightly transition to online purchases only, but this is not the story.
Apparently, people will continue shopping in stores, and there are a few reasons for that.
Daily groceries are still something that e-commerce can’t cover just yet. People tend to go to the shop, pick the products they need and go home, without searching for those on the web and arranging the delivery time. According to a study by Delighted, when it comes to household essentials, 86% of people would prefer buying those in the store instead of ordering online.
Even though every piece of clothes can be bought online now, 76% percent of women and 65% of men prefer to buy fashion and clothes items in-store. This trend in retails is caused by a need to try out clothes before the purchase.
Why? Because one of the most popular reasons for returns for online purchases is a problem with the fitting.
That is why big brands actively collaborate with companies like Bold Metrics to provide their customers with a better experience for sizes and fitting while ordering online.
Interesting fact: Customers return more than 30% of the purchases made online, which is a lot compared to the 8,82% return rate in brick-and-mortar stores.
2. Live Streaming
Live streaming confidently takes over the TV and attracts more and more people to buy while watching live shows, making it one of the leading retail marketing trends. By the end of 2021, live streaming is considered to take 82% of all internet traffic.
Looking at the current retail trends in live shopping, we’ll see that brands are actively embedding live streams in their marketing strategies. Marketplaces such as Alibaba or Amazon allow people and companies to promote and sell goods right in the streams. Potential customers can purchase the products while watching the show without leaving the marketplace.
It's #SinglesDay in China and I want to show you what the livestreaming shopping experience is like. It's a huge trend and Alibaba says they've seen this grow massively. This is Alibaba's Taobao app. And this is how some people shop. $BABA pic.twitter.com/qWKNv90iEg
— Arjun Kharpal (@ArjunKharpal) November 11, 2020
If you’re looking for ways to implement live streaming into your marketing strategy, try using Be.Live streaming studio. With its Live Shopping feature, you’ll be able to promote your products and services by having a presenter and the product being displayed in the stream at the same time.
The Live Shopping feature allows you to add the product’s name and the price tag right in the stream. It looks very neat yet informative. The best thing about the Live Shopping feature is that every time you show a product in the stream, an auto-posted link appears in the comments under your live show, and your viewers can purchase the advertised product right away.
Being fast is essential. More than 90% of customers consider 2 to 3 days delivery as a baseline, where 30% of people expect to have a product to be delivered the same day they order it.
That’s where another trend in retailing arises: optimization in delivery and finding the best possible solution to fulfill the market needs. (If you’re interested in the different practices out there for delivering fast, check out this article from Bringg).
4. Social Presence
Another digital retail trend is ESG. It stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. According to McKinsey & Company, 33% of surveyed people decided to stop buying from the brand they used to purchase from because of their social actions and statements.
So it’s not only about retail now, but it’s also about being sustainable and clear about the values you stand for as a brand.
5. AR and VR Technologies
By the growing number of Google search requests on “how to try on virtually,” we can say that one of the digital retail trends is virtual customer experiences. Checking how the sofa will fit your design, trying on clothes or makeup in virtual reality – all of these are something that big brands have started working on already.
In this video, a woman on her way to a lady’s room in the Chinese mall became a potential customer after looking in the “magic mirror.” The technology allows people to try different lipsticks or eyeshadows while looking at the mirror. Once she tried those out, the vending machine offered her to buy the beauty products she used right away by scanning the QR code and making the purchase.
6. Omnichannel Retail
The boundaries between online and offline shops are slightly fading away. Whether it’s an in-store purchase or an online order – for customers, it’s all about being able to connect with a brand through different channels. This is called omnichannel retail.
Customers don’t want to choose – buying online or offline. They want to purchase most conveniently at the exact moment they decide to make a purchase: either on a website or in a store next to their house.
Retail business’ goal for the upcoming years is to give customers different options to enjoy the shopping experience without limits. There are a lot of different scenarios for purchasing new normal:
- to be able to order online and pick the product at the store;
- visit the physical store, select the product and order the curbside delivery (so there is no need to stand in the line and wait for a purchase) ;
- Find the product online, do the research and then go to the store to purchase it;
And many more.
One of the impressive examples of the omnichannel approaches is Hema Supermarket from Alibaba. Once you enter the shop, you can use the app to scan any products’ barcodes to check the composition and conditions. Every time you make a purchase, Hema’s App analyzes the products you buy and suggests the products you might be interested in next time visiting the shop. It also allows you to pre-set your food basket and order the delivery right to your place without the need to walk to the supermarket at all.
No doubt, the retail trends have changed tremendously since the beginning of 2020. These changes have brought a lot of uncertainty and difficulties for the companies and brands to cope with, but it’s an exciting and promising shift to follow and be a part of for both: customers and brands.
Content creator at BeLive