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Due to the unprecedented economic slowdown in the 2020s, the retail industry had its tough times. However, e-commerce retailers are streamlining their business forward through online selling, while entrepreneurs are shifting to start their e-commerce businesses.
As you know, eCommerce is an ever-evolving industry with several new trends and advancements taking place every year that helps businesses to gain revenue. It's no surprise that 2021 will be the year of remarkable advancements and changes.
Let's look at the top five retailing predictions that e-commerce retailers need to know for the upcoming year.
Delivery service has become an integral part of people's daily lives, tech giants like Uber Eats, GrubHub, and Instacart have changed the ways of food or grocery deliveries at customer's doorstep.
Also, FedEx, UPS, and Amazon were in huge demand over this pandemic restriction. Moreover, the delivery companies and partnerships were growing increasingly to meet the demands of consumers, which leverages brick and mortar businesses to shift online businesses.
As companies have started partnering with more number of workers to suit the economic needs and fast delivery options. As a result of grocery shopping new normal, anyone with a back seat or trunk in their vehicle started delivering merchandise.
For example, Bed, Bath & Beyond have recently launched their partnership with Shipt, that helps both e-commerce platforms and consumers to benefit from same-day deliveries. They offer this service at a rate of $4.99, for orders above $39. In fact, Shipt has partnerships with multiple sectors like Costco, CVS, Office Depot, Petco, and Target.
Most of the user's shops use digital platforms nowadays, as a result, many retailers have shifted to sell products online. This shift from an old-fashioned business model to technological advancements added more profits for the retailers.
Also, many popular brands offer products on a monthly subscription basis, that helps customers to refill products before it ends. Few retailers have moved a little extra to explore things like smart speakers and the Internet of things that help to deliver products automatically.
Many companies were trying to adapt to businesses such as rentals, sales, and subscriptions. It's ideal to look after how Apple is selling its gear. However, it helps customers to purchase products by paying a monthly basis, as a result, it brings large sales to the company.
For example, popular retail businesses like Nordstrom, Patagonia, and Walmart have shifted to follow the same methods for selling their products like clothing, tools etc.
Consumers get attracted to rent-buy models or even selling used and refurbished products, which save their pockets. Also, businesses could recycle their products in a more profitable way using these options and it transacts more customers into their brand.
In 2021, consumer behavior will have a shift from existing trends, as a result, storefronts in malls will be converted into fulfillment hubs to handle the low foot traffic. Also, e-commerce businesses can benefit by transforming the stores into mini distribution centers pairing up with last-mile delivery services.
Already, popular brands like Amazon have started implementing this model, by offering same-day delivery to their customers.
Apple has recently transformed its retail stores into mini distribution centers that offer fast delivery to their customers. However, this trend is a result of COVID-19, but still, it will stick up to next year as it helps to accelerate e-commerce businesses.
As you know, an e-commerce store is growing tremendously, physical stores are facing exponential transformation. Most of the retailers have started implementing blended approaches that focus on online and in-store shopping together. Which creates an engaging as well as a social distancing shopping experience for the users.
For example, Walmart announced that they are transforming 200 of its supercenters into fully functional stores inspired by the airport (which offers prominent signage, contactless checkout options, and latest innovations).
Most of the brands find traditional businesses like physical stores are tough to handle with storage and inventory. By combining both physical stores and online stores, they could generate more leads with a better customer experience.
Also, retailers offer sales appointments with customers online to try and experience products virtually and order online. Which helps retailers to reduce the pressure in managing store sales and customers.
The benefits of augmented reality and virtual reality in e-commerce is top-notch for retailers. For example, retailers could even create a demo environment for their customers like Canada Goose's arctic room which goes up to -20 F that helps customers to try and test out their jackets in real arctic weather.
Virtual meetings have gone viral in recent times, people attend conferences, business meetings and even educational sectors make use of video calls to exchange their information.
Retailers also have taken steps to benefit from using video chat features, which act as a tool for the communication process. For example, if a customer wants to buy a car, furniture, or clothing, they can connect with a sales associate or product manager to experience the products virtually.
This initiative is more convenient for customers as they can do shopping at any time and anywhere in this world. Apart from a lot of benefits and convenience, online shopping helps retailers to share product videos, technical specifications, reviews, features, and functions via face to face video calls.
Retailers have realized that this type of virtual business models can profit various kinds of products or services with its impeccable benefits.
This year has taught everyone to be prepared for unexpected changes. It's true for retailers to stay updated with technologies to meet all the challenges. I hope, now you have clear insights on changes and e-commerce trends which will prevail in the marketplace for 2021 and beyond. Be prepared with your marketing strategies and business plans to launch an online grocery store successfully in the upcoming year.