It's been a wild ten months of the year, and it looks like the world will never be quite the same. Power Retail asked a series of business and e-commerce experts for their predictions of a post-pandemic world, and the trends coming our way in retail next year.
1. Sustainable Retailing
Laura Tien, Digital Content and Partnerships Associate at Workit Spaces: “Brands that focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness have been performing super well in our coworking eCommerce Hub. For example, Alcmena, a small business selling reusable nappies with unique and adorable patterns, has seen significant growth in the past few months. Similarly, Floraly, an online florist that sources farm fresh flowers only after you order to ensure that there is no waste, has seen their biggest sales days recently.”
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2. Click & Collect
Graham Jackson, CEO at Fluent Commerce: “With retail stores having to close because of COVID-19, more retailers will use their stores to ship goods to customers. With more people demanding e-commerce and home delivery, stores have become quasi-warehouses and distribution centres for goods going out for delivery. For many retailers, this is a new paradigm and they need to get their staff picking and packing.
“However, unlike distribution centres, stores weren’t designed to optimise the pick and pack process. Instead, they’re laid out to maximise in-store sales, and store staff, who don’t have detailed knowledge of shipping and logistics, face a similar challenge. Unfortunately, this can make store fulfilment expensive and slow, meaning many retailers are trying to work out how to reduce the time it takes to pick and pack each order.”
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3. Personalised Customer Experience and Service
Steven Perissinotto, Founder of Vet Shop Australia: “We’re going to see a huge demand for personal customer service. With COVID meaning many online retailers and other businesses simply stopped or significantly limited phone and chat support we’re going to see customers demanding that they can call, chat or email and get a real person.”
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4. Real-Time Inventory
Graham Jackson, CEO at Fluent Commerce: “COVID-19 has seen a rise in e-commerce and online shopping, so more retailers will need a real-time view of inventory. With goods being bought and returned online and in-store, retailers have to know what stock they have in and where it is. They’ll also have to share this with customers, so they don’t buy an item online, only to get to the check-out and find it’s no longer available.”
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5. The Need for Agility
Graham Jackson, CEO at Fluent Commerce: “If there is one lesson 2020 has taught retailers, it’s that they need to be ready to adapt and change for the environment. They need the right technology supporting them to be able to do this and respond quickly. The retailers which have managed to adapt quickly to the new COVID-19 environment in 2020 have done well. The same will be true in 2021, whether that’s being able to ship from store, pack orders more efficiently or enabling Click & Collect.”
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