The irony of omnichannel retail trends at the start of this unpredictable year is that they turned out to be…accurately predicted.
Convenience and personalization were at the forefront of industry forecasts, with claims that these would be the driving factors separating the retail industry leaders from the rest.
In such a competitive industry, a retailer’s ability to meet these consumer needs is what would result in standing out.
Recommendations to strengthen retailers’ foothold in the space included:
- Focusing on why they matter as a business
- Investing in growth
- Embracing the technology and automation that would help them grow
- Venturing into partnerships
As a result of how 2020 has unfolded, what were once recommendations are now necessities.
Government mandates and social distancing regulations have forced the hand of the retail industry in many ways, but especially as it pertains to unifying the online to in-store experience.
As a result, here are the omnichannel retail trends we’ll see continue to maintain their relevance in 2020.
Integrating Contactless Retail Technology
Many shoppers said they planned to continue omnichannel shopping after it ends. 51% say they will continue ordering via mobile apps, 42% will keep shopping online for curbside pickup, and 41% plan to use live chatbots after the pandemic.
Contactless retail consists of low-contact purchasing experiences like curbside pickup, BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-store), ROPIS (Reserve Online, Pick Up In-store), BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-store), mobile pay, and more.
Even though contactless retail technologies reduce contact, they still create high-touch experiences between merchants and retailers. With these systems in place, customers are able to easily search inventory, place orders, and safely pick up their items.
Brick & Mortar as the New Fulfillment Hub
Buy online, pick up in-store purchases surge 248% at the end of May compared with before the pandemic, new data finds.
Though the in-store experience has changed, this does not mean that brick-and-mortar locations are no longer useful to the retail strategy.
Now, brick-and-mortar storefronts should be viewed as customer-focused fulfillment hubs.
Even as store capacity restrictions vary from state to state, transforming physical locations as pick-up points will be a continuing trend this year.
Focusing on Convenience & Personalization
By the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Providing an easy and personal customer experience is paramount to staying competitive in the retail industry. The easiest and most scalable way to integrate this into your customer experience is through retail technology.
Incorporating Convenience in the Shopping Experience
43% of consumers would pay more for greater shopping convenience.
For today’s shopping environment, retailers can offer a convenient shopping experience by offering a range of low-contact pickup options like BOPIS, ROPIS, curbside pickup, eCommerce, and more.
By offering these options with a contactless commerce technology, consumers can:
- View up-to-date inventory and order with confidence
- Purchase before pick up, limiting time in the store
- Receive real-time order status notifications via SMS or push notifications
In addition, retailers are able to move local and aging inventory, thus estimating better inventory projections and fueling the buying-selling cycle.
Adding Personalization for The Customer
49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience.
To create a personalized shopping experience, rather than reaching the customer with targeted advertising, instead, retailers should use customer data – past purchases, likes, and dislikes – to serve the most relevant product advertisements as they shop.
This can make the customer’s shopping experience feel more personalized while helping them shop more quickly.
The Informed Sales Associate for an Increased Bottom Line
Today, 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience.
Rather than the next retail trend strictly associating with technology, technology is instead used to support the human element of retail – the informed sales associate.
By incorporating retail technology that keeps both customers and employees informed, your sales associates are able to serve your customers with a personal touch, knowing who certain customers are and what they ordered as they arrive at your brick and mortar location.
Safety & Sanitation That Meets Customer Expectations
As of July, only 29% of consumers said they feel comfortable shopping at a nonessential retail store, and the same percentage said they feel comfortable shopping at a shopping center.
The industry has evolved in two specific ways – how customers shop, and their level of comfort when it comes to entering a store and shopping.
Considerations that should be kept in mind so that customers feel safe shopping include:
- Clearly outlining curbside pickup flow
- Reducing wait time with expectation setting
- Creating clear two-way communication
- Restructuring curbside pickup staff responsibilities
- Continuing to maintain and enforce hygiene and sanitation
- Enacting safe social distancing measures for employees
Ensure these needs are met for shoppers and employees are a necessity for retailers to maintain a quality experience.
Ready to Take Advantage of These Retail Trends?
Limitations on the physical shopping experience have only over-complicated the retailers’ ability to maintain relevance and stay at the forefront of customers’ minds. We provide omnichannel solutions that help retailers capitalize on these trends and get back on track.
By simplifying retail management and unify all backend systems under one, easy-to-use platform, business owners are empowered to focus on running their business. To learn more about how you can incorporate contactless retail trends into your retail strategy, contact us today to learn more.