Preparing for 2021 – 3 retail trends to be aware of

Article by Martyn Jones | 24th December 2020

2020 has been tough on all of us. We’re trying to think optimistically for 2021, because we know how hard our customers and colleagues worked over the Christmas period. 

We’ve looked at three big retail trends to be aware of this year. These issues have been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic, but are also being driven by customers themselves. 

Here are 3 issues that will matter greatly to retail over the next 12 months: 

1. A greater focus on customer experience

The COVID-19 outbreak caused a significant drop in retail footfall in 2020. At the height of the pandemic, high street numbers were down 82%. Interestingly, retail parks fared better, because they contain a higher proportion of supermarkets and also benefit from Click & Collect. 

Lower high street footfall has encouraged retailers to create better customer experience. 

  • Customers now value communication greatly as part of their shopping experience, as shown in a new report by Deloitte.
  • Employee communication is also a huge part of good customer service, because it enables colleagues to provide an uninterrupted service and interact with nervous customers.

Case study: How Asda transformed communication and customer experience

Customers will stay loyal to shops that offer a great experience. Retailers are also keen to turn customers into brand ambassadors. Expect to see an increase in “share to win” promotions, where customers are offered prizes or discounts in exchange for promoting a brand on social media. From free samples to in-store activities, retailers will do everything they can to make stores feel like destinations once again. 

2. The rise of ethical consumerism

The COVID-19 outbreak has increased awareness of inequality, and consumer habits have changed to reflect this. 

  • 24% of UK shoppers are more likely to choose an ethical brand as a result of the pandemic, and 57% want to see companies actively supporting the community. 
  • Consumers will also remember the companies who went the extra mile to keep them safe, with 63% saying they will favour brands who made an effort to fight the outbreak. 

In the past, many companies stayed neutral on political issues. This all changed in 2020 with brands voicing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement

  • 70% of consumers feel that it is important for brands to take a stand on political and social issues. 

Alongside social awareness, environmental concerns will be key. 62% of Millennial and Generation Z shoppers prefer to buy from sustainable brands. Over 70% of Millennials are also willing to pay more for sustainability. 

3. Click & Collect becomes the norm

Click & Collect and other BOPIS (Buy online, pay in store) services have grown in popularity. 

  • 42% of customers say they are more likely to use Click & Collect as a result of the pandemic, and 80% of stores now offer the service. 
  • This growth is expected to continue, with the Click & Collect market predicted to reach £9.6 billion by 2022

This is part of a larger trend towards omnichannel shopping. Customers are blurring the lines between ecommerce and bricks and mortar retail, mixing and matching the channels for maximum convenience. Over half of customers now use 3 or more channels to make a purchase, and companies that adopt an omnichannel approach improve customer retention by an average of 56%

This is good news for the high street. Click & Collect allows retailers to embrace online shopping without sacrificing footfall. The big success stories of 2020 were the stores that made Click & Collect as convenient as possible. B&Q saw its sales rise by 200% after introducing Click & Collect points in its car parks. 2021 will see stores competing to streamline the Click & Collect process even further. This could mean moving Click & Collect desks to a more prominent location, or reallocating colleagues to speed up the service. 

Find out more about omnichannel shopping

VoCoVo: By your side in 2021

Whatever the new year brings, our technology will allow you to make the most of it. Improving customer experience will be the key to retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. Our headsets put the customer first by reducing waiting times and improving service. Colleagues can contact other departments at the push of a button, finding information for customers without leaving their side. 

Our technology also helps you to embrace the shift to omnichannel shopping. Call Points can be placed on Click & Collect counters for instant customer service. Call point messaging can be broadcast straight to a colleague located in the warehouse who can then bring the goods  straight to the customer. All of this happens in a matter of seconds without any walking required. 

Whether it’s checking stock levels or finding product information, you can give customers the kind of personalised service that will keep them coming back. 

Thank you for everything you’ve done this year, we’re here to support you and your team through whatever challenges lay ahead in 2021.

We’re here to help, find out more about supporting your team in 2021

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