8 Innovative Retail Trends and Insights to Consider in 2021 and Beyond

Thanks to the technological advancement the world is witnessing, businesses that opted for digital transformation and moved away from their legacy process survived the tough time. The upcoming age of technology will help the retail industry win the forthcoming battles and reshape the shopping experiences.

impact of Covid-19 over online traffic

The above chart depicts the impact of Covid-19 on online traffic

When Forrester announced that the retail industry would suffer a massive $2.1 million loss globally, panic ensued! The world had just stepped into the "Quarantine Phase." This situation was different; it was chaos closed inside every household.

While late 2019 introduced Covid, 2020 felt its ire! Businesses were reeling under the avalanche of losses due to closed business after worldwide governments issued the lockdown. The lockdown was a necessity, but so was innovation and the need to think out-of-the-box.

How much will US consumers spend on retail and ecommerce in 2021? 

  • The total retail sales growth will begin to recover in 2021, rising 2.3% to $5.630 trillion. 
  • E-commerce sales growth will be moderate, around 6.1%, adding to the 32.4% growth in 2020. 
  • The brick-and-mortar retail sales will ascend from a 3.2% decline in 2020 to a 1.6% gain in 2021. 

Which retailers are best positioned for 2021? 

  • Amazon will continue to lead due to ongoing innovations using data-driven insights and analytics. 
  • Top Retailers like Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, and Best Buy will extend their omnichannel momentum to improve the shopping experience. 
  • Digital-first retailers like Instacart, Peloton, and Etsy will build on pandemic-driven gains by using top-notch technologies. 
  • Brands like Nike and Lululemon will continue to transition to digital and direct-to-consumer (D2C) models successfully. 

This article will address the retail trends that owners and businesses must know to grow their brand in 2021. Before we delve deeper into the topic, let's see the need and importance of being up to date with these trends.

Stay updated with latest and upcoming retail trends

Reputation, profitability, and a loyal customer base are crucial to survive the competition in this digital age. To get an edge over the competition, retailers need to know current market affairs related to demographics, politics, weather, or technological upheaval.

Below are top retail trends for 2021

Yeah, it seems a no-brainer to mention, but often in the race to reach the top, sometimes, a business may lose touch with the current market trends or news. Hence, it is our effort to get the trends to your screens and help you gain insights into how these trends will affect your retail business's future.

1. Personalised shopping experience 

Personalized shopping

Shoppers are bound to love the experience when it is bespoke. When you plan to adapt to retail store automation, you must provide personalized services. A better customer experience is the foundation of successfully adapting retail trends.

However, technology is now ushering in a contemporary age of mass-personalization, as every retailer can get familiar with it and avail it to revamp their sales strategies.

Retailers can gain an edge in this field by deploying machine learning, AI, and data analytics for crunching out the customer's past shopping behavior and then send them personalized recommendations.

Retailers can employ the same technology to provide their loyal customer base with personalized coupons and deals based on a special day in their life, such as Birthday, Anniversary, or any other special day.

Sales from online stores are immensely rising. It's been estimated that the revenue will cross $4.88 trillion in 2021. AI has to offer many unique options, such as recommendation engines, to point brands towards products customers are most likely to prefer.

2. Voice-enabled shopping

voice shopping assistance

Every shopper depends on the convenience he is offered. The more you will personalize it, the more you are bound to generate ROI from it. Amazon Echo and Google Assistant are the ideal examples of it. 

As per Statista, Smart speakers' sales will augment by 35.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2025. You can guess the vitality of this particular retail trend and its impact on online and personalized shopping.

Seize your customers with voice assistant

All these innovative trends revolve around the pillar of a better customer experience. With the voice-based shopping assistant, retailers can enhance the hands-free experience of customers and unlock new growth opportunities.

Every retailer is running behind unique ideas to propose a better customer experience. In that case, how would you be in the limelight of the customers?

  1. Understand your target market. 
  1. Be in the shoes of your customers. 
  1. Try to catch hands on the current technology. 
  1. Offer customers something that makes them visit you more often.

3. Omnichannel approach 

Augmented Omnichannel approach

In 2021, retailers will be hemmed in by healthy competition. Your competitors have been eyeing your next potential customer. In that case, it is significant indeed to create an active brand recall.

Adopting a multichannel marketing strategy becomes the last thing in that matter. Retailers need to make sure that they are available to their customers in every possible way.

First, you will need to understand your targeted audience's persona and then carry out the rest of the tasks based on their traits and frame of mind.

Omnichannel marketing is one of the most crucial acquisitions you will need to own in 2021.

Own this trend, to own 2021 completely 

Retailers are surrounded by healthy competition. This means skipping a single shot can also lead you to lose customers, especially when adopting an omnichannel marketing strategy.

Based on customer and market research, we found that customers want a fast, integrated, and intuitive shopping experience across all channels - mobile, web, and stores - that aligns with their grocery shopping habits. Rapidops worked in partnership with one of the US retail giant's teams to devise an aggressive omnichannel strategy and roadmap to build the eBusiness platform and transform all existing customer-facing channels.

4. Curbside pickup 

Curbside pickup

With people having to maintain the social distance, retail store owners have had to approach innovative ways to win business in the pandemic.  

Many have embraced curbside pick-up solutions to offer their customers a safer and secure option to collect their orders.

Many retailers are not thoroughly aware of this retail trend. But, when you come to know of it, you will find it extraordinarily feasible and perceptive. Let us learn the basic meaning of curbside pick-up. 

Read more about why curbside pickup is a right option for local retailers

Retailers out there are approaching this trend more often, and it is going to take an integral pace in 2021.

5. Last-mile delivery 

Last-mile delivery

Retail and e-commerce are commendably rising year-over-year as the pandemic has boosted customers' desire to shop from home. Overall sales in U.S 2020 were $73.2 billion compared to $41.5 billion a year earlier.  

So, retailers can see these perseverance sales during the pandemic. This prodigious rise in e-commerce sales puts much pressure on logistics operations. One of the biggest challenges in logistics operations is last-mile delivery.

Let's look at the advantage last-mile delivery brings to businesses. 

  • Improves transparency 
  • Boosts customer engagement 
  • Increases productivity and profitability

6. Artificial intelligence in retail

Artificial intelligence and in retail

Artificial intelligence in retail has welcomed the futuristic phase of data processing, which has helped develop better business insights. According to research, global annual spending on AI by retailers will touch $7.3 billion by 2022. 

In recent times, AI in retail has been brought into consideration widely. The retail industry is evolving rapidly, and customers are witnessing themselves spoiled with choices. Contemporary consumers want bespoke shopping experiences, and AI is the potent channel to offer it and provide a personalized shopping experience.


7. Digital payments for faster sales 

Digital payments

Shopping all about the comfort and ease of the retail experience. It is also driven by the offers online or in-store. In this dynamic and fast-evolving industry, retailers who develop streamlined in-store and online experiences for the customers are the ones who will stay ahead of their competitors. The ease of making payments is the much important factor that seals the deal for customers.

The various digital wallet business models in use today: 

  • Amazon and Walmart have adopted a closed wallet model that limits purchases and services to the issuing business. 
  • PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay have a semi-closed wallet that permits purchases at vendors that partner with the wallet provider.
  • Bank debit and credit cards use an opten wallet model that supports credit and debit cards for purchases and ATM withdrawals.
  • Mastercard Masterpass and Visa Checkout have allowed a semi-open wallet model that works at card-accepting online merchant locations.

The migration to EMV may have raised concerns of fraudsters targeting online transactions. However, modern e-commerce solutions have integrated enhanced payment security measures for thwarting data breaches and frauds.

Faster, secure, and more manageable online payments reduce manual tasks such as 

  • data entry 
  • processing paper invoices 
  • even managing customer disputes

To stay updated with this online shopping trend, retailers will need to get their hands on the best digital payments portal or software to help customers make faster purchases and back them up with re-enforced security against breaches, fraud, and cyber-attacks.

8. AR /VR in retail  

 AR and VR

The retail industry will further explore niche technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Those who are experimenting have not witnessed any disappointing norm in this adaptation. Multiple sectors like fashion, sports, and furnishing have experienced success using AR and VR. But not many have sustained its usage in business apart from one or two stunts on and off. The next step for retailers in 2021 will be to amalgamate AR/VR into their business strategy.

AR/VR will amalgamate into an extended reality. These technologies have individually managed to provide their customers with an excellent customer experience. Concerning how augmented reality is being explored in various industries, AR in retail will do wonders in 2021.

Since we have walked you through these valuable pointers of augmented reality, we also want you to adapt to this trend. The most important thing is to learn the importance of it. Rapidops is your constant helping hand to match the market's dynamic state and always stay ahead of the curve.

Closing words: In the new normal, retail realignment will have lasting effects

Digital disruption has become a necessity and retailers must pay heed to the constantly changing market to gain an edge over their competition. They must align it with the consumers’ dynamic shopping habits. They use retail trends like data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for pursuing a growth-driven future of their retail business. 

The future is being based on technology, and it will pave the way for beautiful things, which includes businesses being profitable. If companies keep their pace with technology and move at equilibrium, then we are sure they will continue to dominate their respective segment. 

At Rapidops, we believe that  attention to detail is the key to creating the best digital product. With a well-versed team of developers and testers combined with cutting-edge technologies, Rapidops develops digital products that contribute to the growth of businesses of all shapes and sizes.


Saptarshi Das

9+ years of expertise in content marketing, SEO, and SERP research. Creates informative, engaging content to achieve marketing goals. Empathetic approach and deep understanding of target audience needs. Expert in SEO optimization for maximum visibility. Your ideal content marketing strategist.

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