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How Retail Shopping Trends Will Change in 2021

Austin Chegini
16 Jul 2021

The past year has been full of change, especially in the retail sector. Both small and large businesses have been forced to keep up with shifting consumer demands. 

While people are now receiving the Coronavirus vaccine, experts do not expect our economy to return to normal until mid to late 2021. People will still need to keep their distance and avoid unnecessary contact with others.

To ensure your store can stay competitive, brace yourself for these possible retail shopping trends that we expect to see next year.

Less showroom, more stock room

It is no surprise that e-commerce sales are booming. Between Q3 2019 to Q3 2020, online retail sales increased by 37.1%. Since the pandemic will still affect each part of our society next year, it is only safe to assume that this trend will continue. 

Traditional brick and mortar retailers are responding to this change by shifting much of their focus to e-commerce. On a small scale, local shops are building their first websites and social media accounts. On a large scale, big companies are offering faster shipping and free at-home pickup.

In any event, less in-store traffic means stores do not need as much space devoted to retail displays. Instead, this real estate may be better served for holding and packing e-commerce goods. Creating mini-warehouses will help streamline pickup and shipping, reducing labour costs, and increasing delivery speed.

Likewise, if stores are seeing fewer guests, then they might consider downsizing. Opting for a smaller space that can still accommodate in-person sales will reduce overhead costs. Many small businesses struggle to compete against big retailers because they have a smaller economy of scale, so they may choose to downsize if it allows them to reduce prices without affecting their margins. 

Subscription-based selling

Many conventional retailers are adding subscriptions to their online shopping strategy. From curated cosmetics to various snacks, monthly boxes are the new craze. Adding to this, 69% of Americans have more than one subscription, and 28% report to have at least four.

Monthly subscriptions are popular because they make shopping much easier. Since products are sent automatically to a customer’s home, they don’t have to spend time searching for new goods. On top of this, they don’t have to visit stores during the ongoing pandemic, adding a layer of security to their lives. 

While subscriptions reduce in-store visits, they still offer more benefits than traditional e-commerce transactions. For example, the Nordstrum Trunk Club allows customers to try on clothes and return items they don’t like. 

Local shopping, but with a twist

American consumers want to shop small. Survey data shows that most people want to support local businesses over large corporations. 

However, the pandemic will make it hard for some retailers to connect with their local consumers. 

Stores will need to establish an online presence that blends seamlessly with their physical store. As restrictions ease, customers can shop in-person and support local businesses. If restrictions increase, these shoppers can then visit the store’s e-commerce website.

Before the pandemic, many small retailers would set up booths at community events or speak with people on sidewalks. Now, this communication will need to happen digitally. 

Stores will need to be active on social media and engage with users organically. Their focus should be on interacting with the community, not pushing products. Businesses can make a favourable impression by doing online giveaways, contributing to local charities, and simply making fun content like these bodegas in New York.

With the right digital approach, stores will stay top of mind with their community and see continued sales.

Focus on quality over quantity

Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact they have on the world. As society focuses on conservation and reusable goods, shoppers will likely buy fewer items. Instead, they will opt for high-quality products that will last. 

For example, fast-fashion retailers like H&M saw sustained sales decreases last year. On top of this, the company is closing hundreds of stores because of changes in consumer trends.

Additionally, Generation Z is participating more in the economy. Their shopping habits also focus on buying fewer goods. Even when they do buy, they are turning to peer-to-peer outlets that let them shop responsibly and re-use goods.

To top this all off, people will still be spending less time in public throughout 2021. As more people work from home or isolate themselves from others, they will need fewer items to wear. 

Prepare for 2021 with Epos Now

Stores need the latest technology to stay up to date with the latest retail shopping trends in 2021. Shoppers want a fast, simple experience, and that starts with your point of sale.

With the Epos Now Retail POS system, brick and mortar stores can provide an outstanding experience to customers and streamline operations at the same time. 

Our cloud POS is perfect for:

  • Selling online: You can connect with leading online sales platforms like BigCommerce to do more business.
  • Tracking inventory: Take stock in minutes, and spend less time updating inventory since all levels automatically adjust with each sale.
  • Online marketing: Integrate with MailChimp and customer loyalty programs to stay in touch with your valued customers.
  • Tracking customer data: Identify trending products and create customised offers based on consumer spending habits.

Learn more by speaking with a point of sale consultant today!