Insights / Industry Perspectives / Retail Roundup: Tech’s big impact on small business, ‘return to normalcy’ the last thing retail needs


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Retail Roundup: Tech’s big impact on small business, ‘return to normalcy’ the last thing retail needs

HTEC Retail Roundups examine retail technology trends, digital retail innovations, and disruptive products.

Holiday retailers forced to adapt to a new reality

The 2020 holidays were perhaps the most monumental — and the weirdest—season in the history of retail. Nevertheless, the numbers are in. Here are the most eye-catching data points, the most telling trends (virtual services, contactless pickups), and the biggest takeaways of the 2020 holidays, brought to you by Retail Dive.

Retailers stung by a record $115B in returned gifts

Many retailers were hoping that the holiday shopping season would be a silver lining in a near-disastrous year in 2020. And while online sales indeed reached unprecedented levels during the holidays, the aftermath might feel like salt on an open wound. Record sales were followed by record returns of unwanted presents in the neighborhood of $115 billion, according to Charged Retail.

Technology had a big impact on small businesses in 2020

No other year has been so dramatically shaped businesses’ ability to utilize technology to take on new challenges (incited by the pandemic). For more details, check out Forbes 13 biggest small business technology stories of 2020.

Expert: Retail should not want a ‘return to normalcy’

In his look ahead at industry-shaping trends for 2021, retail expert Brittain Ladd touches on the false hopes of retailers expecting a “return to normalcy.” Ladd writes that retail’s “old normal” was already broken and that the wave of innovation ignited by the pandemic was long overdue. He also provides several thought-provoking recommendations for major retail players.

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