As we race towards the end of the year, we take a look back at this year and how retailers can strategise for the new year. The way people shop has undergone a total transformation this year with retailers having to step up to implement more technology and data-centric solutions to say ahead of the game and to recover faster from the pandemic.
To consumers, little may have changed on the surface, but retailers and brands have been pedaling faster than ever to keep operations running smoothly to build resilience and to keep customers satisfied.
The UK is the world’s third largest marketing for ecommerce, and a substantial number of businesses have invested even further in technology over the past months. 33% of retailers went through website upgrades, in addition to 32% who have started to accept new payment methods, and 26% have embraced data analytics for the first time. Retailers have shown courage and strategic conviction this year with so many businesses acting swiftly and smartly during these unprecedented times.
It has been a difficult year and yet the challenges retailers had faced have made it a game changer that has caused the industry to innovate at a sharp rate. The biggest takeaway from 2020 is the accelerated shift towards ecommerce. Consumers have embraced online shopping with urgency and most retailers have responded immensely with the prompt rollout of new technologies, new apps, and new ways of meeting the consumers’ needs.
These days, customers who have access to ecommerce systems are increasingly opting for online shopping, and in our new normal it is almost certain that people are more likely to continue purchasing goods and services online even after non-essential stores had re-opened.
What lies ahead for 2021?
Retailers have found it increasingly difficult to gauge what 2021 may hold for them as this has been one of the most challenging years that the retail industry has ever faced. The pandemic has upended the retail industry, forcing the closure of physical stores, and causing uncertainty for the future of the in-store experience.
However, this has accelerated a ‘technological revolution’ in retail, as for many, retailers across the industry are working tirelessly to equip their businesses to survive and thrive through change. Many have pivoted to their online channels to make up for the loss of in-store sales.
This has resulted in the use of ecommerce and digital sales and has demonstrated a significant improvement, helping to maintain growth for many businesses. This means that for more businesses, they must work on a digital strategy, re-think their business strategy and reassess this based on consumer preferences. This ensures that companies can more easily meet the needs of their customers.
Adopting omnichannel technology will help retailers to unlock growth and sales through online stores as we continue to see technology become more important to consumers day-to-day living and is rapidly becoming a dominant choice for their purchase decision making. Read our latest guide to get started.
Omnichannel approaches and technology enables organisations to optimise channels to the full potential and puts the customer at the centre of the strategy to help drive business and increase sales.
At Data Clarity, we have developed ClarityOmnivue to specifically solve the challenges businesses face trying to mine multiple disparate data sources to deliver one 360-degree view of customers and business key performance indicators. ClarityOmnivue transforms disparate data into a unified data solution that enables more informed business decision. For more information on how ClarityOmnivue can be of benefit to your business, click here.
Businesses and companies that not only want to survive after the pandemic subsides but thrive, need to update their digital transformation strategy if not already done so, or perhaps need to offer more preferences to promote customer loyalty to help growth. For further information, click here.
Key Actions to survive and thrive
Heading into 2021, there are key actions retailers must consider to survive and emerge as more agile companies.
- Aggressively map your assortment to changing consumption trends – Today’s consumer is spending more time at home since home working has been introduced as an approved alternative. As individuals are spending money to upgrade home spaces, this will change product assortment strategies for 2021.
Retailers need to map their assortment to these customer preferences to maintain growth for their business.
Here at Data Clarity, we have worked with retailers like Paul Smith to develop ClarityOmnivue that has given them the ability to easily identify and reconcile their data and providing all the information they need to know about a single customer.
- Get down on digital – Direct-to-consumer websites, mobile commerce, click and collect are all fundamental ways that provide customers the means to buy when and where they want to. Retailers need to think about how they can use data to understand what their customer is buying and why they are buying it, alongside leveraging predictive modeling to automatically forecast future purchasing patterns.
- Be ready for fight for value – The consumer is going to expect to pay less – less unrestricted spending, more promotions, and discounted prices. Gross margins are expected to be lower in 2021. Even for top luxury brands, strategic pricing and promotional strategies will have to become even more critical.
- Stores need a fundamental rethink – Tough decisions need to first be made around the size of the store and the role of the store. In fact, growing omnichannel needs in-store are cited as being the number 1 in-store labour challenge. The store experience needs to be re-imagined when delivering to a consumer who will be demanding new concepts for physical and online stores. Thereby, driving further customer loyalty.
Retail in 2021 will be incredibly challenging, however, embracing the fundamental certainties and understanding the core trends set for the foreseeable future will enable you to prioritise and execute a set of actions. As well as adapting to the process of digital transformation and adaptation to omnichannel technology to be able to grow your business and promote customer loyalty.
To discover how you can do more as a business, contact us today.