The Top Biggest Retail Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

The Top Biggest Retail Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

With a new year comes new trends in the retail landscape.

Particularly in the world of retail and ecommerce, the recent growth of ecommerce has been a significant, accelerated trend which has resulted to be one of the most talked about trends this year. After all, this can’t be helped as we already have difficulty visioning what is over the horizon for brick-and-mortar stores, and how they will bounce back post-pandemic.

As the majority of 2020 shifted a rapid shift towards ecommerce, a lot of these behaviours and trends will continue into 2021 and the future of retail.

There is a greater need for retailers to meet consumer’s demands to succeed. For many businesses, this has meant that they need to upgrade their online presence, offering online sales channels to compete with others through 2021, regardless of lockdowns.

Throughout this article, we will outline some of the most important 2021 retail trends we expect to see as we slowly progress back into normality.

2021 Retail Trends

Ecommerce: The biggest change for retailers in recent years came in the form of ecommerce. Last year’s surge in online shopping is here to stay, especially given the hurdles presented by the global pandemic and the closure of high street stores. In 2020, nearly 41% of shoppers said they were currently shopping online for the things they would originally buy in store.

Social Commerce: In 2021, we can expect to see social commerce become an even more integral part of the ecommerce experience for brands and shoppers alike. Native shopping experiences on social platforms offers consumers an even more seamless way to shop online. Users can make purchases right from their social media platforms.

Offline Ecommerce: Without question, ecommerce is booming and overtaking traditional retail sales and undermining high street stores. However, there’s still a thriving trend for taking ecommerce stores offline that allows shoppers to benefit from interacting with the product in person. Pop-up shops, interactive ecommerce kiosks, and bricks-and-mortar stores are all bringing popular online retailers to the high street.

For example, the online giant Amazon launched Amazon Go, a cashier-less convenience store in the US. Amazon Go is described as a “new kind of store with no checkout required” meaning you’ll never have to wait in line. The store works with the newly established Amazon Go app, you enter the app, take the products you want and leave – charges will be applied to your amazon account.

Omnichannel: The omnichannel consumer on average spends more than a single-channel shopper, encouraging a need for retailers to invest in blending platforms in-store. Retailers with physical stores should create a seamless omnichannel experience, by making sure that all touchpoints remain on brand to enhance the customer experience, whether they shop offline or online, or by using a combination of the two.

Adopting omnichannel technology will help retailers to unlock growth and sales through online stores, as we continue to see technology become more important to our day-to-day living in 2021 and for the foreseeable future.

The best way for a customer to perceive everything is to allow them to intentionally own their data and experience. By using retail data analytics to interpret online and instore shopping patterns, retailers can keep track and stay ahead of the shopper trends and can deliver the unique brand experiences that become their unique selling proposition, to better stand out from competitors.

At Data Clarity, we have worked with retailers like Paul Smith to develop ClarityOmnivue – a full end-to-end data management and analytics solution that enables retailers to get to know their customers and offer personalised and relevant brand experiences to deliver value.

For more information on how ClarityOmnivue can be of benefit to your business, click here.

Sustainability: The shift towards ethical commerce continues to be part of the 2021 retail trends, as more consumers are environmentally conscious than ever and look to shop with retailers that implement more sustainable practices.

While a lot of brands are working towards developing circular systems whereby garments become fully recyclable after use, sustainable fashion brands are on the rise and is a critical feature to the consumer’s purchasing decisions as over half of British consumers are more likely to choose a retailer who promotes and delivers on sustainability.

Easy access to company-wide data improves this decision-making process and opens new opportunities for bringing sustainability inside an organisation.

For example, Paul Smith are passionate about maintaining a sustainable approach across all aspects of their business, and continually assess the part they play in creating a more sustainable fashion industry. As of December 2019, 80% of Paul-Smith-owned shops in the UK run on 100% green energy.

By using ClarityOmnivue, this can utilise every valuable piece of data available. Retailers can maximise the value of held stock to meet consumer needs, cut waste and improve sustainability. Most overstock issues detected and addressed quickly with a real-time global view of the entire inventory.

For more information, read our guide.

Value: Not only does this refer to retailers applying reasonable pricing, but businesses should also offer value to customers. Whether this is through commendable customer service, a wide-ranging offering or loyalty discounts that can’t be found elsewhere. Value is what makes specific retailers stand out from their competitors, as well as being a major factor that creates customer loyalty.

Advanced Customisation: Advancing technologies are creating more and more opportunities to personalise the customer experience.

The ability to provide last-minute personalisation at an affordable cost is currently the latest offering for businesses as they satisfy the consumer throughout their shopping journey. For example, Nike allows customers to customise every aspect of their Nike Air range of trainers – even the wording displayed on the back.

Retailers need to ensure that they have high-quality integrated customer data, advanced analytics, and automation technologies to deliver personalised experiences across various stages of the customer’s journey.

AI in Customer Sourcing: Latest research shows that an estimate of 86% of businesses are currently gaining the benefits of better customer experience through AI.

Artificial intelligence is already used in ecommerce to make intelligent product recommendations, helping customers to visualise products better and assist you with customer queries.

In 2021, it is believed that AI is going to help find customers for your business too.

Intelligent algorithms will analyse current trends, as well as products, sales, channels, customers and buying behaviour to identify the best channels, time, and price to list products. This will save hours of crunching numbers, graph creating and report writing, as well as being able to help brands accelerate sales and immediately boost profits.

How to Prepare for What’s to Come

Following on from our predicted trend listings, these actionable steps will enable retailers to be prepared for success in 2021 and for many years to come.

Prepare your website: Without a doubt, more consumers are shopping online than ever before, with an increase number of people looking online for inspiration and availability before heading into stores. Businesses need to make sure their website can deal with increased demand and provide customers with all the information they need.

Improve Omnichannel Offering: Retailers must make sure they are reaching consumers in the ways they like to browse and buy. Businesses should design a presence that carries the same messaging, brand values and level of customer experience whether it is online or offline.

Omnichannel approaches and technology enables Organisations to optimise channels to the full potential and puts the customer at the centre of the strategy to drive growth, create seamless and frictionless experience.

Invest in Technology: Peak online shopping is expected to be 50% higher, highlighting the importance of retailers’ tech infrastructures being able to deliver. While this may require time and budget, it is worth looking at the types of technology available that enables businesses to improve customer experience, streamline operations and drive growth.

Become more eco-friendly: There is a growing focus on eco-friendly retail and for many, businesses should work towards making a positive, environmental impact. Many customers are becoming more ethically aware and are making conscious decisions about where they purchase and their ethical values. Your supply chain can fulfil the environmental impact your business needs, from changing packaging materials to sourcing locally and investing in carbon offsets – there is several ways retailers can make a difference.


Today, retailers are constantly looking for a competitive edge and better ways to reach customers, more efficient customer journeys and opportunities to proactively meet customer needs, as well as driving business growth.

At Data Clarity, we are on top of the challenges and opportunities this presents for retailers. To discover how you can do more as a business, contact us today.


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