The past two years have been a time of change for the retail industry, and many are looking toward the coming new year with a mixture of trepidation and hope. Things have been extremely tough for some segments of the industry, especially smaller brick and mortar operations, but some encouraging retail trends have emerged from the chaos of the pandemic.
Retail eCommerce experienced an unprecedented boom during the lockdowns, reaching almost $5 trillion in sales in 2021, and this growth in online purchasing is expected to continue for the next several years.
For those businesses willing and able to adapt and roll with the changes in consumer behavior caused by the pandemic, the future looks bright. Here are some retail trends we've
For better or worse, social media platforms are striving to create a virtual existence for their users, to integrate their lives into their online presence, making enhanced social media shopping is one of the primary current trends. This technology allows a user to not only search for products and services on a platform but to purchase them there too, without having to click through to a separate retail website. Retailers can create custom shops and storefronts on social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to showcase and sell their wares to a huge global user base. Social commerce sales are expected to reach $36 billion in sales by the end of the year.
Safe, Comfortable Retail Spaces
Mask wearing and social distancing have made some consumers risk-averse to heading into brick-and-mortar spaces. Businesses that take measures to make their customers feel safe in their stores while providing a comfortable and pleasant shopping experience will bring more people through their doors. Contactless payment methods, clean seating to help relax while shopping and well-designed areas throughout the store will help customers not only be more comfortable but also stay longer and hopefully spend more money.
Alternative Financing Options
The concept of ‘buy now, pay later’ has been around forever, but with prices rising due to supply chain issues, flexible financing will be attractive to many consumers in the coming year. Juniper Research predicts that consumers will spend nearly $1 trillion through installment payment plans by 2026. Digital wallets enabling mobile and crypto payments are also becoming the preferred payment alternative to cash and cards.
Increasing Chatbot Use
Limited in-person shopping options during the pandemic led to the boom in online shopping, and customer service has been increasingly provided by chatbots. New technologies have made these digital assistants better than ever before. Customers can enjoy shorter customer service wait times with 24/7/365 accessibility while businesses save money by reducing the labor of having to field live calls. Chatbots are also being used by innovative companies to act as digital shopping assistants, creating personalized product recommendations by asking a few simple questions.
Ready to ring 2022 in strong with the newest trends? Download our Do's & Don'ts of Retail Design and let Randal Retail Group help you start the new year right.