It's 2021 and we stand in a transformational era where retail and e-commerce are converging more than ever. Online is going offline, and offline is going online with high volatility. To keep up, every brand needs to be consumer-first and tech-first. Although the consumers are purchasing more via screens these days, the interaction is human and humane. Accordingly, the tech offerings are evolving by the day to bridge the gap between brand and consumer.
This is where the omnichannel approach comes in, smoothing the transition from online to offline, and vice versa. It ensures minimal friction should be minimal and standardizes for the consumers no matter where they purchase the final purchase from.
2020 was the year massive shifts took place, as more and more brands adopted digital-first as an approach and mindset. Omnichannel thrived. E-commerce boomed. Hybrid models came into existence. Both consumers and brands adapted to and benefited from them.
In this article, we are presenting the top 5 omnichannel retail trends to watch and adopt in 2021 and how they can boost your business and attract and retain maximum customers.
1. Contactless Checkout
Over 87% of shoppers say that they prefer to shop in stores with touchless or robust self-checkout options. The contactless checkout retail store is a fully automated, cashier-less store where you can pick up an item, walk out, and the cost is automatically debited from your e-wallet. The technology involves a camera, artificial intelligence, and numerous sensors. These sense and track the customer's movement and record what products were picked up or put back on the shelf by the customer.
India opened its first Amazon Go-inspired retail store<digit>1<digit> in 2018, known as Watasale. The customer downloads the Watasale app and registers using an email ID and phone number. The app generates a QR code that serves as a unique identity and a 'ticket' to the store. They can walk in, pick products, and leave the store by scanning the QR code at the entrance.
Benefits of Contactless Checkout:
Save Time: The consumers can grab what you need and leave the store in less than 30 seconds. These store formats are handy for working moms and professionals.
No queues: No more U-turns by customers on seeing queues at the billing counter of a retail store.. The technology puts an end to the queue system for billing your products.
Go Cashless: Consumers don't need to carry cash for shopping transactions as they can conveniently use electronic wallets for transactions.
Shopping experience: Enhances shopping experience, making it safer, faster, and more comfortable for the consumers.
Enhanced Operational efficiency: Contactless technology requires fewer employees and enables faster implementation. Businesses accepting contactless payment save time by eliminating the need to count currencies and operate card swiping machines. This enables sales to be closed in record time.
2. Augmented Reality (AR)
The combined AR/VR market was evaluated at USD 26.7 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 814.7 billion by 2025. According to important research, 61% of customers prefer retailers with AR experiences, and 32% use AR while shopping.
Augmented Reality is an easy, exciting, and interactive way to try any product before buying it. The technology drastically minimizes return rates for online retailers by providing an appealing 'try-before-you-buy digital experience.
Thanks to innovative Augmented Reality (AR) technology, customers can now visualize, walk and enjoy an immersive shopping experience of a retail store in real-time from the comfort of their homes.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in retail:
Eliminate geographical barriers: Create a rich virtual experience for brand stores that customers can access from anywhere in the world.
Customer satisfaction: Enhances customer satisfaction with engaging, exciting, and distinctive experiences.
Reduce infrastructure costs: Helps E- commerce businesses to leverage the benefits of the physical store without a proper setup, thereby saving substantial infrastructure costs.
Improve sales and operational efficiency: Helps B2B salespeople sell more efficiently by reducing the need to move bulky products, sales materials, and other content.
Stand out in the market: Offering an AI-enabled experience helps firms to stand out in a crowded market and popularise a brand.
Bring products to life: Presents engaging and visually appealing product demos and demonstrates each feature and its offerings to generate more traffic and conversions of the product.
3. Same day delivery
According to The New York Times, “The first retailer to master same-day delivery could attract customers who have avoided online purchases because they wanted items immediately, and encourage current shoppers to add products that they usually buy from supermarkets or drugstores.”
Critical market research says that the global same-day delivery market was valued at $5.78 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $20.36 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 21.1%. In 2021, customers want their orders as soon as possible, and 88% of customers are willing to pay more for same-day delivery.
The same day delivery market is showing robust growth considering the change in customer behavior in 2020-2021.
Benefits of same-day delivery:
Fewer car expenses: Businesses can meet customer expectations by using a same-day delivery courier. They no longer have to worry about vehicle maintenance, driver turnover, or driver training.
Get more satisfied customers: Same-day delivery is a significant benefit for people who cannot wait for their order or visit your business. Customers are delighted if their orders can be delivered or returned the same day.
Retain your customers: Same-day delivery impresses and retains customers. As a result, customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and promote the retail business.
Low-cost shipping: Companies can save money by using a local courier that does not have volume restrictions. Reduced delivery costs mean increased earnings for the company.
Beat Competition: Offering same day delivery could make your product the only choice for consumers much in need. It's a delight and a saviour for consumers needing the product for a specific deadline.
4. Digital Payments
Digital payments have revolutionised the means of buying and blessed both retailers and consumers with ease, safety, and convenience. No need for change has been a big change!
Digital payments provide the flexibility to adopt omnichannel strategy easily by doing seamless payments on any channel where it be an online storefront or a physical store.
UPI options and Google Pay are big examples of digital payments trending in retail business.
Benefits of digital payments:
Convenience: Consumers do not need to carry cash when shopping online or offline. Digital payments provide them complete control over transactions regardless of the channel used for shopping.
Reduced hassle: Businesses are relieved of the responsibility of counting the notes, returning the change, and depositing the cash in the bank account. Additionally, it protects them against the threats of counterfeit notes.
5. Social selling through video content
2021 is the perfect time for social selling using videos. Research reveals that 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it. 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchase decisions.
Benefits of social media videos for your brand<digit>2<digit>
Attract customers quickly: Video is an effective, engaging, and concise tool for capturing your audience's interest and attention within the first few seconds. It is incredibly digestible in comparison to a lengthy paragraph of a blog.
Build customer trust: Video builds trust between your business and the audience as they like to see real people talking about the product.
Boost customer confidence: It bolsters customer confidence in your brand as retail businesses can show company culture, testimonials from happy clients, product demos, unboxing, and a lot more.
Target the growing social media users<digit>3<digit>: The latest report says that internet users spend an average of 145 minutes every day on social media.
You would be excited to know the video usage statistics on different social media platforms:
- Users view an average of 8 billion videos every day.
- Seventy-five million users visit Facebook's video platform each day.
- 81% of businesses use this platform for video marketing.
- 65% of impressions from an ad come from Instagram videos.
- 75% of users take action after viewing a brand’s video.
- 72% of platform users buy a product after seeing an ad.
- 82% of users watch video content on the app.
- 90% of Twitter videos are seen on smartphones.
- 72% of video marketers use Twitter as a channel.
Videos allow you to target and do business with 3.78 billion social media users in 2021, which will grow to 4.41 billion by 2025.
Looking at these retail trends for 2021, we can safely say that brands are moving closer to consumers, and consumers are being given a plethora of options to shop from/interact with. With this happening, the brand experiences get better by the day, and retailers are spending money in the right places to attract and retain customers.
But, the cycle of innovation does not stop. While this article might hold true for 2021, we don’t know what major shifts and trends will exist/come up in 2022, which is exciting for consumers and brands alike.
Be a part of the change with Fynd. Click here to connect with us and let’s get you set-up with an omnichannel toolkit for your retail business.