The retail industry is constantly changing. This is not just because of the evolution of technology, which obviously plays a huge role. It is also because of consumer behavior changes. Analysts have been saying for a long time now that eCommerce is the future but the truth is that we are faced with a much more advanced buying experience.
For anyone involved in the retail industry it is mandatory that he/she stays ahead of the curve. This is why everyone needs to be aware of the following important retail trends heading into 2021.
Online Stores Move Offline
This does not mean that online stores will disappear. It simply means that the largest eCommerce giants also open brick and mortar locations. This does include businesses that are mainly online platforms, like Amazon, which opened Amazon’s 4-Star Stores. These include Amazon Books and Amazon Go, among others.
At the same time, offline stores learn from the success of the online stores. They start to implement technologies that allow them to sell online. Walmart is a great example of this. Employees have access to devices connected to the online store. In the event that a product is not available at a brick and mortar location, you can arrange for it to be delivered to your home from a store that has it.
POS Systems Evolve
POS systems keep evolving because of the fact that they are mandatory in retail. These points of access allow an employee to quickly check inventory, record a transaction, and more. The interesting thing is that modern POS systems include software that allows you to make quicker safer payments. They give you access to different payment options, ranging from cash to even cryptocurrency, in some cases.
POS is becoming mobile as a whole. Business owners get to check inventory for all stores, including online eCommerce sites. At the same time, the software can turn your mobile phone into a POS, which can be quite beneficial especially for smaller businesses.
Subscription ECommerce Keeps Growing
Subscription eCommerce is here to stay. This includes the huge media service providers, like Netflix and the large video game stores. Basically, the subscription-based model brings in really high returns for businesses that use it. Something like this can only continue growing given the popularity shown among customers.
Private Label Sales Increase
Private labels now sell 3 times more than branded products. Due to this, CPG manufacturers have to rethink their entire strategy in the following years.
As a simple example, almost half of the items sold in grocery stores in Europe are now private label. In the US, the industry is catching up but it does stay on track. Statistics actually show that retailers make 25% more due to moving to an in-house system.
The good news is that this also offers leeway to the retailer as it can price products in a much more competitive way. The growth is driven by millennials and it will not stop.
Deep Retail And AI
Browser and smartphone habits have been mined for years now and now retailers start to use the information gathered. This process is connected to AI (artificial intelligence). By the year 2025, AI revenue is going to reach an amount of over $36 billion.
The adoption of artificial intelligence allows the retailer to save around $340 billion every single year because of the creation of a much more efficient supply chain. AI can be used for many different things, ranging from natural language processing to sensor technology, and even robotics.
Nobody can really guess what level AI will reach. However, it is clear that it influences the retail industry and that it keeps getting better and better.