Did 2020 Lead to the Creation of a New World of Retail?

Malls have traditionally been places we’ve socialized, shopped, and enjoyed meals at.

While they’ve enjoyed dominance on the retail scene for a long time – malls are no longer the central piece of the puzzle.

While online retail had been growing in popularity, COVID-19 accelerated the process. It pushed retailers to rethink their value chain and re-evaluate their processes.

This new world of retail is all about the omnichannel experience, data-driven insights, and digital solutions – and the customer is at the center of it all.

Convenience is the name of the game

Why get groceries when you can get meal kits? Why make a trip to the restaurant for takeout when Uber Eats is on your phone? Why wait for the stores to reopen when you can purchase the clothes online?

… and the list goes on.

Today’s consumer wants convenience and personalization.

A study from National Retail Federation, shows that 75% of consumers surveyed expected delivery to be free even on orders under $50.

These consumer preferences have become even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increased lockdowns and restrictive measures being put into place.

The need for greater convenience has been a key driver for the global eCommerce growth.

According to the Statistics Canada research, published in November 2020 on CTV news, 2020 was on pace to beat 2019’s total eCommerce sales of $305 billion. The B2B sales and retail purchases combined have more than doubled since 2013.

Will retail stores stay?

Even though eCommerce has grown significantly, brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going anywhere.

While stores will stay – their role is going to change. Retail stores are no longer the only end-point for the buyer’s purchase journey.

Today, there is more synergy in online and in-store shopping than ever before. You can purchase online and pick-up in store. You can get the products delivered but take them back to stores for returns. You can experience the product in-store and purchase online. The possibilities are endless.

So, when it comes to non-essential retail, the role of the stores will evolve to being experiential zones and maybe even distribution centers for faster shipping of products to consumers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is currently considering this model to expand its footprint and same-day delivery network further.

Data is at the heart of it all

The pandemic has proved that time is of the essence – particularly when it comes to retail.

Customer preferences are evolving fast and businesses need to keep their finger on the pulse of the changing customer behaviours to thrive in this fast-paced economy.

This is why data is absolutely essential – it has the potential to guide the product ideation process, simplify procurement, and reduce the time-to-market. Product lifecycle management software can help in developing, manufacturing, and taking the ‘right’ products to the market by leveraging this valuable data.

Additionally, data can also help brands deliver personalized, appealing web experiences and targeted sales promotions across all channels.

So, what’s next?

The retail space is changing and businesses have to evolve to avoid the risk of being left behind.

Departments and factories can no longer afford to operate in silos. Integration of business processes and collaboration between resources is vital for both short- and long-term success.

At SHEA Global, we can help you revisit your business models and realign your processes to stay profitable in a fast-changing retail market. Reach out if you need help getting started or require advice along the way.