Consumer attitudes have been changing over the last few years, and we have seen an even more rapid change in thinking with Covid this year. In 2020, retailers had to focus on virtual experiences to keep shoppers engaged while they increasingly seek personal and unique experiences. The innovations in the industry are being driven by the ever-changing consumer attitudes and the brands that are innovating and developing technologies that facilitate new types of online purchasing will be the ones ahead of the game in the coming years.
Retailers who embrace technology that facilitates new types of shopping including virtual wardrobing will open new perspectives for customer loyalty. Consumers are now more conscious about their shopping habits than ever before, and allowing for virtual wardrobing, renting of clothing, and purchasing second-hand clothing or thrifting, will be extremely important for retailers to incorporate into their sales strategies over time.
Everyone knows that over the last several years, there has been an exorbitant shift towards online shopping, especially during the holiday season. With Covid-19 this year, the level at which online shopping occurred was higher than ever due to social distancing and concerns with the in-person shopping experience. However, it seems this trend is here to stay. Here at Scurri, we are currently processing more than double the number of deliveries that we were at this same time last year.
High Street shopping as we knew it was already facing challenges, including shop closures, before the pandemic hit. However, this charged the change, driving shop closures in the UK at record levels. This has driven retailers online, and for some of them it’s the first time they have had a digital platform for sales. There will be many challenges faced by retailers as they continue to get online for the first time, but the ability to pivot to this type of offering will be vital to survival.
As part of the large online shopping experience, cash is no longer king. We are seeing more and more shops turn cashless, and with online shopping at record highs, so is card usage for purchases. Coupled with that are concerns about handling cash for health and safety reasons during the pandemic. This shift away from cash being the main form of payment has been on the rise for several years but the shift was sped up within the last year.
Another megatrend we expect to continue to see in 2021 is the huge push to support our local economies. Consumers see a real value in establishing relationships with local brands that they know they can trust to contribute back to the local economy. This is why marketing is so important for retailers now more than ever before. Not only do retailers who have pivoted online, possibly for the first time, need to secure business to keep themselves open, but securing local business is key to both the consumer and retailer. Using marketing to target the right consumers ensures that shoppers go direct to the retailer as opposed to a large online marketplace such as Amazon.
During the pandemic, retailers became very innovative to guarantee delivery of products. Retailers started using distribution centres to create pop-up eCommerce distribution hubs to meet the surging demands for online orders during the year.
The move came as many carriers had already reached full capacity for months to come, and there was additional stress about delays over the holiday season.
This innovation allowed retailers to work with multiple carriers to ensure the demands of the supply chain were met, and will be very important going forward as we see more and more online orders coming in every day.
Necessity is the mother of all innovation. The need for businesses to survive and thrive during such extraordinary times has led to incredible innovation in the eCommerce industry that we can expect to continue for years to come.
Conscious consumers and their attitudes are now driving the reshaping of the industry more than ever, as retailers know the importance of keeping every customer possible during these times of uncertainty. ✷