As deeply challenging as it has been, 2020 has ushered in a number of innovative changes into the retail industry. With the year almost at its end, many are looking forward to try to predict how these changes will impact the industry in 2021 and beyond.
The previous week in retail media has been marked by cautiously optimistic predictions for the coming year, as there is growing hope that mass vaccination signals an exit out of the pandemic. We have selected some of the most interesting views into the crystal ball, as well as a few pieces of most relevant and telling news. Without further ado, let’s jump into the latest insights from the world of retail.
What’s new in the digital retail world
The return of brick-and-mortar: the venerable Forbes has come up with its own take on the key industry trends that will shape retail in 2021. Interestingly enough, despite the accelerated growth of online shopping caused by the pandemic, the article hints at a major recovery of physical retail stores fueled by “lockdown fatigue”. Perhaps more predictably, the other key drivers for the new year are the rise of local shopping, the growth of conscious consumerism, and a continued wave of technological innovation. Read more at Forbes.
The changing role of retail stores: The retail industry was forced to reconsider every aspect of its operations and devise new answers that make it more flexible and adaptable to disruption. One possible outcome of such consideration is a new “hybrid” role of retail stores as last-mile distribution channels. (GlobeST)
The most outlandish prediction of the year: one industry expert predicts that Amazon might exit the first-party retail business. With the growing dissatisfaction and accusation of unfair competition from its customers, as well as stiff competition from emerging platforms such as Shopify, Amazon might refocus on its third-party services and establish its first-party offerings as a new entity, it is said. Whether the behemoth concedes a big part of its favorable position remains to be seen.
The art of choice: while most retailers faced with the consequences of the pandemic have recognized the need to rethink and transform their operations through innovative technology and fresh approaches, the emerging question has become the ability to choose the right transformation partners. This article calls upon retailers to rethink their RFP processes.
Casualties of the year: Yahoo has done a deep dive into the wave of bankruptcies of a number of major retail industry players. The article goes beyond the “blame it on the pandemic” mantra of 2020 and highlights some of the underlying and pre-existing issues that have contributed to some of these downfalls, as well as detailing the path forward some of the fallen giants have taken or are planning to take.
News from the front: Forrester delivers a revealing projection of consumer spending during the holiday shopping season in the US, reflecting on both the reduced budgets and the changing habits impacted by lockdowns and the uncharacteristically solitary nature of this year’s holiday season.
For a more comprehensive view of the changing face of retail and the way technology powers its transformation, visit our Retail Reloaded series!