The unprecedented context of 2020 has accelerated the transformation of the retail sector. Retailers must be agile to respond to changes in consumer behaviour if they want to continue to prosper.
Tiendeo, a leading company in drive-to-store digital marketing services, reveals the main trends that will revolutionize the retail sector in 2021
Omni-channel: a physical and digital alliance
Although the final act of the purchase process is mostly carried out in the physical store, it is imperative that retailers adapt their communication and marketing strategies towards the integration of mobile. Retailers that stand out with a true omni-channel presence, in particular thanks to the digitization of print advertising, will gain efficiency, position themselves for the challenges of environmental sustainability, and see a clear difference in turnover.
Eva Martín, co-founder of Tiendeo, confirms this trend: “The omni-channel experience will give retailers more opportunities to take advantage of their proximity to local consumers. The discontinuation of Ikea’s catalog distribution shows that the digital transition of print advertising has already begun. In 2020, digital represented more than 55% of total advertising spending, which clearly shows where we are heading in the next few years.”
Digitization of traditional commerce and the shopping experience
Although we saw an acceleration of online shopping during lockdown, the physical store is still the preferred place of purchase for 81% of UK consumers, according to a survey carried out by Vista Retail Support. However, customers also want to shop close to home and are looking for a quality, no-fuss experience.
Therefore, 2021 will be marked by a new trend associated with the goal of driving consumers back to stores: the creation of unique experiences that reduce friction in every part of the purchase process (contactless payments, cashless stores, scheduling of appointments to avoid large crowds, Click & Collect, …).
Thus, the ideal store will be a space in which the customer seeks experiences, despite not having a defined purchase intention. Artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual or augmented reality, and even 5G will be the tools that will allow retailers to bring in-store shopping experiences to life.
The triumph of ethical and sustainable retail
Although this trend has been gaining momentum for several years, 2020 marked a true turning point in terms of the focus on environmental sustainability. “We have noticed recently that many retailers have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions, in attempts to address the high level of consumer concern for environmental issues,” Martin explains.
According to data from the Balancing Sustainability and Profitability Survey conducted on 1,500 consumers across the Uk, 63% of consumers expect the brands they buy from to have clear sustainability practices.
Therefore, retailers that are able to guarantee transparent communication and carry out more sustainable operations regarding the environment and ethical trade give themselves an advantage in retaining customers and gaining their long-term trust.
A customer centric vision
In 2021, the brands that will triumph in this crisis will be those that integrate new technology as a means to obtaining deep knowledge of the customer in real time (360º vision). In fact, artificial intelligence based on machine learning algorithms and big data are fundamentally redefining traditional marketing by allowing the personalisation of advertising messages.
Now more than ever, retailers who have the advantage of huge amounts of data at their disposal can anticipate consumer buying behavior in order to boost their sales, offering the right product, at the right time, to a specific type of consumer.
In 2021, these four trends will characterise the go-to-market strategies of the retail industry, in the face of a market and especially a consumer that is increasingly adaptable to changes, and in the face of a situation of constant change.