The often wretched and deeply transformative 2020 is almost at an end. The long-simmering digital transformation of the retail industry has been shifted into overdrive by the fallout from the pandemic, and this wave will carry over into 2021 and beyond.
The final weekly overview of the most relevant digital retail trends and news for this year gathers a few postmortems on the holiday season and the year in general, as well as a few predicitons for the coming year. Let’s take a few minutes away from the end-of-the-year festivities and see the latest hot takes from retail industry experts.
What’s new in the digital retail world
No end in sight: As if the year wasn’t already bad enough for the UK’s retail industry, The Times reports that hedge funds are targeting major retail brands such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons for short-selling. This comes as a clear indicator that the catastrophic consequences of COVID-19 are set to extend the industry’s downward trend in 2021.
Dinosaur eulogy: In a slightly sentimental view at an industry going through dramatic changes, The Forbes highlights some of the most iconic US retail stores that have closed during 2020. Despite the fact that most of these stores have struggled to remain operational even before the global crisis struck, it is still a fitting indicator of how much the industry has suffered during this year.
Silver linings: In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the MasterCard holiday season report shows a 3% rise in retail sales compared to the same period of last year. Perhaps more predictably, online sales rose by 49%, highlighting the dramatic shift in shopping habits that is set to continue on the coming year.
No going back: Charged delivers its own batch of retail trends for 2021 with a strong exclamation that there will be no return to “before COVID”, as the pandemic and its consequences have expedited the industry’s entry into a new era dominated by a major shift to online shopping, innovative technological solutions, and diverse payment methods.
Experts say: Charged has also sought out the opinions of retail industry experts to gauge their vision of the industry in 2021 and the defining trends and developments that will play a major role. The gathered opinions span everything from the rise of independent retail to workplace automation.
Overstretching: Retail Dive has covered the strain placed on delivery services in the midst of the COVID-impacted holiday season. Particularly, how some of the major retailers may face customer loyalty challenges as a consequence of unavoidable shipment delays.
For a more comprehensive view of the changing face of retail and the way technology powers its transformation, visit our Retail Reloaded series!