Retail Reimagined: 9 Trends for the Future of Physical Retail

The chatter of the “Retail Apocalypse” began long before the recent events of a global pandemic. However, the last year has accelerated the need for retailers to go digital, leaving many struggling to adapt.

Despite the challenges retailers face, there are opportunities to not only survive but to thrive. But to take advantage of these opportunities expects the understanding that the pre-pandemic rulebook no longer applies.

In this article, we’ll look at the nine retail directions shaping the new world of retail and how marketers can adjust.

Simmer on this: at the height of the COVID-1 9 pandemic, 10 years of ecommerce growth happened in merely 90 days.

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In a nutshell: the future came early. Now what do we do about it?

Retailers have proven amazingly pliable in the last year, as they’ve labor through the mass change to ecommerce and poising the needs and requirements of lockdowns and shifting purchaser behavior.

To navigate these challenges successfully, we need flexibility, inventive remember, and a concentrates on the new ways that consumers are meeting their needs to transition into a different reality.

Is the Retail Apocalypse here?

In a word: no.

The in-person shopping experience can’t be replicated online, and that’s good word for retailers.

Shopping is multi-dimensional. We want to see and touch and stench and try on and( sometimes) smell the products we’re buying, and the eCommerce experience can only go so far.

Think about Cinnabon- the behavior that we are able to mostly smell it, even if it’s been years since you’ve been in one of their accumulations( sorry for making your salivate ).

How about trying on clothes and ensure which fabrics feel best for you?

Small retailers are the bedrock of local communities, and consumers will be able still choose to shop retail when the experience is worth it.

Harley Finkelstein, President of Shopify, framed it this space: “Retail will never die, it will exclusively evolve.”

So let’s talk about the ways that retailers can proactively adapt to the new actuality and thrive, even in the chaos of 2021.

Retail in 2021( and beyond)

While retail isn’t “over” it has been irrevocably altered. 2020 converted the world countries of commerce. We’re now in a period of rebuilding across industries.

The “Roaring Twenties” was a boom period in new construction, new infrastructure, deferred spend, and new forms of art.

2021 will see a spurt in retail redevelopment, high speed internet and commerce adoption, shelved spend, and creator-driven dynamism.

“Annees Folles”

— Web Smith (@ network) December 27, 2020

Shopify research presents :

46% of purchasers in the US and Canada have obliged purchases from neighbourhood, independently managed professions since the start of the pandemic. Of that group, 34% reported doing this more often than in the pre-pandemic era. 57% said they exclusively seek out neighbourhood, independently owned businesses to support with their purchases. 61% of purchasers said they plan to buy from local and independent retailers six months from now. That’s significantly more than those who reported doing so in the first three months of the pandemic.

In many cases, consumers are aroused to buy from smaller, local transactions, but there’s a catch–their wonts have adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic and their possibilities have altered accordingly.

In nine of 13 major countries surveyed by McKinsey, at least two-thirds of consumers say they have tried new kinds of shopping. And in all 13 countries, 65 percentage or more say they intend to continue to do so.

Here are the top tendencies we’ve uncovered through our twice-a-week podcast, Resilient Retail 😛 TAGEND 1. Getting the most from ecommerce

Having a digital presence is table ventures, and the data backs it up.

52% of customers say they’ve changed more of their expenditures to online due to the pandemic. 51% of those buyers said they felt embarrassing with in-store browsing during a pandemic.

It’s this simple: without a a digital vicinity it’s almost impossible to be successful in retail.

Before the pandemic affect, Minnesota brand TC Running had two brick-and-mortar accumulations and zero ecommerce proximity. When shelter-in-place affected last March, forcing their doors to close, their income fallen to nothing overnight.

In about a few weeks, TC made a huge pivot and imparted $1.5 million of stock-take online and recovered all their lost POS revenue with online sales.

“It took us just over a few weeks to get our online store and POS up and running. We “ve got a lot” of SKUs, and Shopify obligated it really easy to set up makes and armory counts.” said Jeff Bull, Brand Manager TC Running

Not simply that–they make things a pace further and launched their Run Squad membership program. They rotated rapidly and received new ways to stay top of mind for their patrons, even without hoof traffic.

Your online store might have been a temporary stopgap to help your business survive shutdowns, but consider structure it into a permanent facet of your strategy.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Make sure your inventory is integrated across all directs; Use implements such as Shopify Compass to steer the fundamentals of eCommerce success; Flesh out your website with see catching product idols, a strong brand story, and hiring produce accounts; Use your social directs, email list, and other communication tools to let your clients know to check out your online supermarket; Place people online within your physical spot with signage and QR codes.

2. The rise of new realization procedures

Curbside pickup, regional give, contactless fee, and Buy Online Pick up In Store( BOPIS) continue to rise in popularity.

But these fulfillment techniques make sense even outside of a pandemic situation. They’re quick, convenient, and fit really naturally into purchaser lifestyles.

For example: approximately the same percentage of consumers who worked curbside pickup in the early months of the pandemic( 40%) say they will continue using it in the future( 38% ).

Denver-based big retailer ReRoot hugged these brand-new realization programmes with open arms.

The first thing that I did was start inviting on Instagram.’ What do you guys miss? Do you want us and want us to offer curbside pickup? Do you want us to offer delivery? ’ They said yes to all of the things that “were trying to” do. We did them.

Paige Briscoe, the founding fathers of ReRoot

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There was an overwhelming demand for curbside pickup, so Paige and her crew turned their minuscule retail infinite into something a little bit closer to a realization center.

Local delivery has also been a saving grace for a lot of retailers with close ties to their community.

For example, when the initial beckons of the shutdowns made Canada, Great Lakes Brewing had 15,000 gallons of beer sitting in their silos. And no one to suck it.

With no way to serve it in their eatery, their receipt flattened. Thus came another resilient pivot .

Within a few weeks, the Great Lagoon Brewing team transitioned the continuing operation to meet the needs of their community by offering free transmission on orders over $50.

Soon after launching their local transmission planned, they were averaging over 500 line-ups per week.

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And the benefits run way beyond pure income. It’s a firebrand make. A community connection, and as Troy Burch sets it, a much needed reminder of their WHY.

We have branded vehicles to get the brand out there, if you are able to. You can be found in our vehicles all over the city. And that is not simply saved jobs, but it also devoted our organization another impression of community, again, to get out there and treated with our advocates from behind a entrance or glass window.

They were able to have that one on one connection. “Hey, how you doing? ” “Are you OK? ” “How is your family? ” And the smiles on the faces of the people that we are delivering to at the end, stimulated it so much better … It was shining a radiant light on a dark day.

-Troy Burtch, Marketing and Communications Manager, Great Lakes Brewing

How to embrace current trends 😛 TAGEND

Connect with your customers to find the best ways to serve them( ReRoot perceived local delivery wasn’t the best option, but curbside was ); Work through the logistics( What is your delivery schedule? What are your delivery perimeters? Do you need to hire additional staff to complete the drop-offs? Will you accuse a fee for give ?) Look for ways to streamline so your customer experience remains simple, efficient, and opportune from beginning to end; Communicate new options for fulfillment clearly through onsite signage and digital announcements( like social media and email ); Think about the right ways to update patrons at every touchpoint( evidence email, textbook content, etc .) to keep the experience seamless Create on-site signage that clearly guides patrons where to go for curbside pickup.

3. Holistic( omnichannel) exchange

Having an online proximity alongside a physical collect alone isn’t fairly: your directs need to work together to build a holistic experience.

Omnichannel retailing is a fully-integrated approach to commerce, adding shoppers a unified ordeal across all canals or touchpoints.

Whether you’re selling wholesale, or you own your own retail space, or you sell at popups, the digital paths need to be intimately connected to the physical space.

Curbside pickup and BOPIS already toe this word, but there are plenty of ways to make this process to the next level.

Digitally-Native brand, Mack Weldon, is an exceptional example of true omnichannel industry at work.

You can buy Mack Weldon products instantly on their website 😛 TAGEND

In their Hudson Yards store 😛 TAGEND

And on modern marketplace, Huckberry :

An omnichannel commerce doesn’t require you to be everywhere possible, precisely the right places for your customers.

In my interview with Brain Berger, Founder and CEO of Mack Weldon, he “ve been told” how to approach this multichannel programme 😛 TAGEND

It’s about being genuinely strategic around how you caste your label to your purchaser and what canals in which you do that. So for us it’s not,’ Oh, we’ve conquered digital or reached a level of magnitude, so now we’re just going to start opening up supermarkets at a rapid clip.’ It’s really about thinking about the role of each channel and how it is appropriate to your overall game plan.

-Brian Berger

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Map out common customer wanders with a focus on both online and offline sales; Reach regional clients by use geo targeting in your paid advertising; Use in-store signage to drive consumers to your online place and social paths Collect email addresses at the point of sale; Build a loyalty program that remunerations both in-person and online auctions; Use the physical cavity of your brick’n’mortar store to produce content for social media, make portraits, etc. Render virtual styling and video chat with store works through a digital tool like HERO to improve the experience of your online patrons; Consider utilize augmented and virtual reality to bring your physical knowledge online; Consume SMS notifications for curbside pickup and regional transmission( then use the channel to engage patrons post-purchase)

4. A focus on regional

Community is everything, especially during hard times.

Whether it’s Zoom happy hours, TikTok dance challengers, or Kickstarter safaruss to save regional universities, we’re all craving real, human connection.

That translates to the ways( and the places) where we shop.

Young parties are particularly invested in supporting smaller, independent retailers right now, with 63% of 18-34 year olds saying they seek out locally owned businesses to support.

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On top of that, nearly 80% of people who chose to shop locally manufactured that select to protect neighbourhood tasks or support their community.

We’re even picturing metropolitans improve out planneds designed to drive regional expressed support for retailers. Check out this example in my hometown of Colorado Springs.

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The takeaway here is simple: lean into your neighborhood.

Moving online opens up numerous new business, but focusing on your local parish and their needs, then constructing outwards means that you can maintain the connections and the passion that drove your business from the beginning.

I actually think that one of the biggest reasons why we endured was because of our community. They were the ones that were spreading the word about ReRoot. They were the ones that were showing up for curbside. Local communities genuinely demonstrated up.

-Paige Briscoe, ReRoot

That can intend sourcing local parts, subsidizing local occasions and nonprofits, or a huge range of other community-oriented moves.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Use hashtags that are conducive to regional assist (# shoplocal #shopsmall ); Connect with local media to build press hype in your range; Partner with other regional retailers to drive awareness for both of your labels; Create Instagrammable signage or ordeals that drive passersby to stop and share; Leveraging local influencers to connect with your audience; Spotlight the different ways that your business supports the local community squandering in-store signage, social media, and your website;

5. A different various kinds of supermarket accompanied

There continue to be major shiftings in the roles that different team members play within a business, and often that requires retail employees to wear numerou hats.

Think about virtual shopping, or implements like HERO that allow customers to video chat and textbook with accumulate identifies while they shop online.

Adam Levene, CEO of HERO explains current trends 😛 TAGEND

What HERO does is connect a customer who’s online who are required to that same assistance, same brainchild and lead as they would usually find in the physical accumulation, and we enabled them to get that whilst shopping online. But instead of speaking to a bot, instead of speaking to someone in the customer service center, they’re speaking to an expert, a sales associate from the place nearest to them and through verse and through chat, through video calling, they’re able to connect and get that same IRL event online.

While these experiences may not be traditional, they display unique the possibility for your customer services to shine.

It might clang daunting, but generating your accumulate accompanies into brand-new roles that balance brick’n’mortar work with digital consultations initiates the various kinds of one-on-one connection that shoppers crave.

Knix Wear has ascertained massive success with their virtual styling program, drawing it a permanent patch of their business.

“We’re seeing about a 70 to 75 conversion frequency from appointments in terms of purchase, ” said Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO.

Joanna continues: “What we’re hearing from beings is they’re actually preferring it over an in real life fitting because it’s virtually most intimate, but without the awkwardness. Now it’s a big part of our company.”

It’s more personal, more helpful, and inspires loyalty on a rank that is difficult to match with a traditional ecommerce experience.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Train your retail staff on ecommerce implements, tech, stock-take, and the ways that these digital constituents play into their day-to-day characters; Enable live chat on your website, and train store associates to run the accounting Usage a implement like HERO to add live video calling and online consultation to your place; Erect a virtual styling program; Host live Q& A periods with store accompanies; Highlight your supermarket accompanieds on social media and use them as firebrand ambassadors.

6. Experiential, personalized in-store know-hows

With in person shopping down over the last year for obvious reasonableness, that represents accompanies can spend more time with the person or persons shopping.

Think of it as something closer to showroom retail: one-on-one personalized knows that give the customer a sense of what they actually “ve been meaning to” your business.

Universal Standard is taking such approaches and coming amazing solutions. And it utters sense- as fashion brands, they’re able to leverage their accompanieds as vogue consultants, guaranteeing customers an unprecedented level of time and attention.

Alexandra Waldman, Co-Founder and CEO of Universal Standard told me about this non-traditional approach 😛 TAGEND

“We wanted to create a much more personal experience. So we created a seat where you were one on one with a stylist. You made an appointment, or even if you dropped in. It is very much your space.”

As we continue to move through this “new normal”, increased in-store events and society connect will be highly sought after.

We can look to modern retailers, like Daily Paper, for evidence of this trend. Jefferson Osei, Co-Founder explained why the team constructed experiential spaces, like a rooftop cafe, into the design of their brand new flagship store in NYC.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible at this moment in time but would like to congratulate, we really think that the store in New York will become a community hub where all these people can get together and link with like minded people. And the gap will too serve as an educational space. We will dedicate certain areas to host certain initiatives, working in collaboration with young knack in and around New York, and also working in collaboration with local initiatives and other parties.

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How to embrace current trends( post-pandemic ):

Look at ways to reshape your physical layout to encourage customers to spend more time in-store; Add tablets or QR codes for customers to engage with in your physical point Cause infinites( like Instagrammable reflects) that drive action with the opening and your symbol alongside acquiring; Train your place accompanieds for longer, more intensive interactions; Host community happens like seminars, gathers, or civilizes Offer your gap for lease for your patrons; Add extra know-hows, like a coffee bar, into your store; Lower your furnish and build out its own experience. For example, that could mean apply a 3PL or warehouse to spawn more cavity and furnish buy in store, ship to home

7. Micro-retail

Moving forward, there are tons of the possibility of labels to offer smaller, boutique events that still specify the physical, “three-dimensional” approach to shopping that we crave.

So what does that was like? It can be a micro-retail spot, as in the case of online bakery Klado, which chose to open a 50 square hoof storefront. For benefactors Jen Prado and Jesse Klee, it was about creating an intimate “hole in the wall” experience for their customers.

Pop-ups are another energizing course to offer tons of opportunity for low-cost experimentation, and even if inventory is limited, these seats can drive traffic to your online storage, setting up a multi-dimensional connection with customers.

Even opening a orientation inside of another accumulation can be a great opportunity to connect with a brand-new gathering. Sephora has been doing this for well over a decade, but more recently Birchbox has accompanied enormous upshots opening up a popup inside of the Washington DC location of Rent the Runway.

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Basically, low-spirited overheads, deeper community connects, and a tale shopping experience induce micro-retail a great opportunity for thriving brands.

The trick here is to lean into the things that already work for your brand. Knowing your concentrations and amplifying them in a smaller space is your best bet.

Is the width of your inventorying a big draw? Micro-retail might not be the freedom move.

However, if customers enjoy interacting with your affiliates, putting that ordeal front-and-center in a smaller space can build lifetime connections.

How to embrace current trends 😛 TAGEND

Partner with other brands to build micro store events; Host society happenings; Explore the unique know-hows a smaller space can offer; Prioritize safety use digital tools- i.e. tracking the number of patrons in-store Collect email datum or phone numbers to create digital linkages after sale; Do inventive: Retail doesn’t ever mean four walls;

8. Neighbourhood partnerships

While 2020 was full of uncertainty, one positive that we’ve seen, is new partnerships between jobs offering exciting customer experiences.

Many cafes are now starting selling groceries from regional raises. My go-to cycling studio in Colorado Springs sources their t-shirts from the printing shop next door.

Common People Shop, a small retailer in Ontario who was forced to close down their accumulation, has leveraged a local partnership to keep curbside pickup as an option.

Steph LaPosta, co-owner of Common People interprets 😛 TAGEND

When we decided to face the reality that now was no longer the time and cavity for our Brick+ Mortar, we knew the decision to close would not only impact the growth of our business, but our communication with local communities. As we began to experiment with ways to keep that connection alive we knew one thing — we had to find somewhere neighbourhood that we could partner with, to still offer curbside pickup. That’s where Parkdale Pet Foods came in. Partnering with them made we are also able drive commerce and attending their road, give them a portion of our advantages, and stop both our symbols alive and expanding in the Parkdale community.

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This kind of collaboration is really common between DTC labels( anyone retain the BarkBox+ Glossier toys ?), and it’s so exciting to see retailers diverging out in similar ways.

It’s all about encountering industries with complementary gives that don’t compete with yours. Think creatively about the different needs that you can meet for your customers and the ways that other labels in your local economy can help that partnership.

Having a strong sense of your own audience and that of possibilities marriages( i.e. some overlap, but still different subsets) has certainly help these partnerships succeed.

How to embrace current trends 😛 TAGEND

Connect with other firebrands in your province and learn what they’re working on; Put together a co-marketing digital campaign; Create content for another retailer; Cause popups within each other’s accumulates Release co-branded concoctions Team up on give-back safaruss within their own communities Use social media to reach each other’s publics Look for mutually beneficial ways to build a better customer ordeal( or satisfy specific customer needs) together

9. Virtual experiences

Your brand has more to offer than simply your concoctions. Every business is made up of experts on a range of topics.

Many eateries are offering online prepare class with starter equipment. Disallows are creating online mixology class. Yoga studios are offering virtual sessions.

Universal Standard is a standout in this category. They’ve partnered with Airbnb to host online predicts of their children’s book, “What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us, ” building an extraordinary connection between the symbol and the community they serve.

The trick here is building an online scaffold for your brand that fulfils a range of customer needs and empowers them to engage with your products, minds, and operation in new ways.

There are plenty of ways to offer both direction and equipment that tell patrons learn or take part in something new and paws on.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

List out the important elements of your brand experience and decide “whats being” thrive online; Form committing digital events that augment your products; Prioritize community and connection between purchasers as well as with your symbol; Instruct your staff with a specific focus on virtual knowledge; Talk with your clients about the kinds of affairs that be stimulating and valuable to them; Consider partnering with a complementary firebrand to broaden the audience.


As retailers continue to adapt to a new world of commerce, there’s plenty of opportunities to build a thriving symbol and business.

If you don’t have an a website or online collect, consider investing in setting that up. Even post-COVID, countless consumers will expect new realization alternatives such as curbside pickup, neighbourhood delivery, and contactless fees. Having a digital vicinity alone isn’t enough, the entire ordeal should be seamless both in-store and online. Now is a great time to focus on serving your neighbourhood parish. Your storage affiliates can be a great resource to educate and help your customers through digital consultations and other virtual interactions. Consider experimenting with unique and personalized in-store knowledge. Micro retail points can also be an effective way to create a memorable event. Local partnerships offer an opportunity to better serve your customers and enter new sells.

While overcoming these unique challenges won’t be easy, we’re entering a wide open frontier with incessant possibles. Things have been rough, but I, for one, am feeling optimistic about the future.

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