Retail Reimagined: 9 Trends for the Future of Physical Retail

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The chatter of the “Retail Apocalypse” began long before the recent events of a global pandemic. Nonetheless, the last year has accelerated the need for retailers to go digital, leaving countless struggling to adapt.

Despite the challenges retailers face, there are opportunities to not only survive but to thrive. But to take advantage of these opportunities involves the understanding that the pre-pandemic rulebook no longer applies.

In this article, we’ll look at the nine retail tends shaping the new world of retail and how marketers can adjust.

Simmer on this: at the high levels of the COVID-1 9 pandemic, 10 years of ecommerce growth happened in simply 90 days.

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In a nutshell: the future came early. Now what do we do about it?

Retailers have proven amazingly pliable during the past year, as they’ve cultivated through the mass shifting to ecommerce and balancing the needs of lockdowns and altering customer behavior.

To navigate these challenges successfully, we need flexibility, inventive envisage, and a focus on the new ways that consumers are meeting their needs to transition into a different reality.

Is the Retail Apocalypse now?

In a word: no.

The in-person shopping experience can’t be replicated online, and that’s good report for retailers.

Shopping is multi-dimensional. We wishing to and touch and fragrance and try on and( sometimes) delicacy the products we’re buying, and the eCommerce experience can only go so far.

Think about Cinnabon- the way that you are eligible to basically smell it, even if it’s been years since you’ve been in one of their accumulations( sorry for making your drool ).

How about trying on attires and hearing which cloths feel best for you?

Small retailers are the bedrock of our communities, and consumers will still choose to shop retail when the experience is worth it.

Harley Finkelstein, President of Shopify, placed it this behavior: “Retail will never die, it will only evolve.”

So let’s talk about the ways that retailers can proactively adapt to the new reality and flourish, even in the chaos of 2021.

Retail in 2021( and beyond)

While retail isn’t “over” it has been irrevocably converted. 2020 altered the world countries of commerce. We’re now in a period of rebuilding across industries.

The “Roaring Twenties” was a boom period in new construction, brand-new infrastructure, deferred expend, and new forms of art.

2021 will see a spurt in retail redevelopment, high speed internet and commerce adoption, deferred spending, and creator-driven dynamism.

“Annees Folles”

— Web Smith (@ web) December 27, 2020

Shopify research demo :

46% of buyers in the US and Canada have constituted acquisitions from neighbourhood, independently owned occupations since the beginning of the pandemic. Of that group, 34% reported doing this more often than in the pre-pandemic era. 57% said they specifically seek out local, independently owned businesses to support with their purchases. 61% of customers said they plan to buy from local and independent retailers six months from now. That’s significantly more than those who reported doing so in the first three months of the pandemic.

In many cases, purchasers are roused to buy from smaller, regional professions, but there’s a catch–their habits have adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic and their promises have altered accordingly.

In nine of 13 major countries surveyed by McKinsey, at least two-thirds of consumers say they have tried new kinds of shopping. And in all 13 countries, 65 percent or more say they intend to continue to do so.

Here are the top veers we’ve uncovered through our twice-a-week podcast, Resilient Retail 😛 TAGEND 1. Getting the most from ecommerce

Having a digital presence is table stakes, and the data backs it up.

52% of buyers say they’ve altered more of their spending to online due to the pandemic. 51% of those shoppers suggest that they felt uncomfortable with in-store shopping during a pandemic.

It’s this simple: without a a digital existence it’s almost impossible to succeed in retail.

Before the pandemic make, Minnesota brand TC Running had two brick-and-mortar accumulations and zero ecommerce vicinity. When shelter-in-place reached last-place March, forcing their doors to close, their revenue fallen to good-for-nothing overnight.

In about a few weeks, TC made a huge centre and delivered $1.5 million of armory online and recovered all their lost POS revenue with online sales.

“It made us time over a few weeks to get our online collect and POS up and running. We have a lot of SKUs, and Shopify fixed it really easy to set up concoctions and armory counts.” said Jeff Bull, Brand Manager TC Running

Not exclusively that–they take things a step further and launched their Run Squad membership program. They swiveled quickly and met new ways to stay top of mind for their customers, even without hoof traffic.

Your online store might have been a temporary stopgap to help your business survive shutdowns, but consider building it into a permanent side of your strategy.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Make sure your record is federated across all canals; Use implements such as Shopify Compass to steer the fundamentals of eCommerce success; Flesh out your website with see catching product personas, a strong brand story, and engaging product descriptions; Use your social canals, email list, and other communication tools to let your patrons know to check out your online supermarket; Focu people online within your physical site with signage and QR codes.

2. The rise of brand-new realization methods

Curbside pickup, local give, contactless fee, and Buy Online Pick up In Store( BOPIS) continue to rise in popularity.

But these realization procedures make sense even outside of a pandemic situation. They’re quick, handy, and fit truly naturally into buyer lifestyles.

For example: approximately the same percentage of consumers who expended curbside pickup in the early part of the pandemic( 40%) say they will continue using it in the future( 38% ).

Denver-based small-scale retailer ReRoot adopted these brand-new fulfillment methods with open arms.

The first thing that I did was start querying on Instagram.’ What do you guys require? Do you want us and want us to offer curbside pickup? Do you want us to offer delivery? ’ They said yes to all of the things that “were trying to” do. We did them.

Paige Briscoe, the founding fathers of ReRoot

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There was an overwhelming demand for curbside pickup, so Paige and her crew turned their minuscule retail room into something a little bit closer to a fulfillment center.

Local delivery has also been a saving grace for a great deal of retailers with close ties to their community.

For example, when the initial curves of the shutdowns affected Canada, Great Lakes Brewing had 15,000 gallons of beer sitting outside their silos. And no one to imbibe it.

With no way to serve it in their restaurant, their income dropped. Thus came another resilient pivot .

Within a few weeks, the Great Lake Brewing team transitioned their operations to meet the needs of their community by offering free bringing on orders over $50.

Soon after propelling their regional transmission planned, they were averaging over 500 requires per week.

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And the benefits travel road beyond pure revenue. It’s a firebrand developer. A parish acquaintance, and as Troy Burch gives it, a much needed reminder of their WHY.

We have branded vehicles to get the brand out there, if you will. You can see our vehicles all over the city. And that is not simply saved undertakings, but it also generated our faculty another gumption of community, again, to get out there and treated with our allies from behind a door or glass window.

They were able to have that one on one connection. “Hey, how you doing? ” “Are you OK? ” “How is your family? ” And the smiles on the faces of the people that we are delivering to at the end, determined it so much … It was shining a radiant light on a gloom day.

-Troy Burtch, Marketing and Communications Manager, Great Pool Brewing

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Connect with your customers to find the best ways to serve them( ReRoot spotted neighbourhood bringing wasn’t the best option, but curbside was ); Work through the logistics( What is your delivery schedule? What are your delivery borders? Do you need to hire added staff to complete the drop-offs? Will you charge a reward for transmission ?) Look for ways to streamline so your customer experience remains simple, efficient, and handy from beginning to end; Communicate new options for fulfillment clearly through onsite signage and digital notices( like social media and email ); Think about the right ways to update clients at every touchpoint( affirmation email, verse message, etc .) to keep the experience seamless Create on-site signage that clearly places customers where to go for curbside pickup.

3. Holistic( omnichannel) busines

Having an online attendance alongside a physical storage alone isn’t enough: your canals need to work together to build a holistic experience.

Omnichannel retailing is a fully-integrated approach to commerce, specifying shoppers a unified know across all directs or touchpoints.

Whether you’re selling wholesale, or you own your own retail space, or you sell at popups, the digital directs need to be intimately connected to the physical space.

Curbside pickup and BOPIS already toe this cable, but there are plenty of ways to take this process to the next level.

Digitally-Native brand, Mack Weldon, is an exceptional example of true-blue omnichannel busines at work.

You can purchase Mack Weldon concoctions directly on their website 😛 TAGEND

In their Hudson Yards store 😛 TAGEND

And on modern mart, Huckberry :

An omnichannel commerce doesn’t require you to be everywhere possible, exactly the right places for your customers.

In my interview with Brain Berger, Founder and CEO of Mack Weldon, he told me how to approach this multichannel approach 😛 TAGEND

It’s about being actually strategic around how you prestige your symbol to your customer and what paths in which you do that. So for us it’s not,’ Oh, we’ve quelled digital or reached a level of proportion, so now we’re just going to start opening up supermarkets at a rapid clip.’ It’s really about thinking about the role of each channel and how it fits into your overall game plan.

-Brian Berger

How to embrace current trends 😛 TAGEND

Map out common customer excursions with a focus on both online and offline marketings; Reach neighbourhood clients by consuming geo targeting in your paid advertising; Use in-store signage to drive consumers to your online storage and social channels Collect email addresses at the point of sale; Build a loyalty program that rewards both in-person and online marketings; Use the physical opening of your brick’n’mortar store to produce content for social media, make images, etc. Furnish virtual styling and video chat with store employees through a digital implement like HERO to improve the experience of your online clients; Consider expend augmented and virtual reality to bring your physical suffer online; Expend SMS notifications for curbside getaway and neighbourhood bringing( then use the channel to engage clients post-purchase)

4. A focus on regional

Community is everything, especially during hard times.

Whether it’s Zoom happy hours, TikTok dance events, or Kickstarter safaruss to save regional foundations, we’re all craving real, human connection.

That translates to the ways( and the places) where we shop.

Young beings are particularly invested in supporting smaller, independent retailers right now, with 63% of 18-34 year olds “says hes” seek out locally owned businesses to support.

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On top of that, nearly 80% of people who chose to shop locally formed that selection to protect regional undertakings or support their community.

We’re even hearing metropolis construct out planneds designed to drive neighbourhood expressed support for retailers. Check out this example in my hometown of Colorado Springs.

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The takeaway here is simple: lean into your neighborhood.

Moving online opens up many new markets, but focusing on your neighbourhood community and the needs and requirements, then building outwards means that you can maintain the connections and the passion that drove your business from the beginning.

I actually think that one of the biggest reasons why we endured was because of our community. They were the ones that were spreading the word about ReRoot. They were the ones that were showing up for curbside. Local communities genuinely presented up.

-Paige Briscoe, ReRoot

That can make sourcing regional parts, underwriting local happens and nonprofits, or a huge range of other community-oriented moves.

How to embrace current trends 😛 TAGEND

Use hashtags that are conducive to local reinforce (# shoplocal #shopsmall ); Connect with local media to build press hype in your region; Partner with other local retailers to drive awareness for both of your symbols; Create Instagrammable signage or knowledge that drive passersby to stop and share; Leverage neighbourhood influencers to connect with your gathering; Foreground the different ways that your business supports the local community expending in-store signage, social media, and your website;

5. A different various kinds of store associate

There continue to be major alterations in the personas that different team representatives play within a business, and often who are in need of retail employees to wear multiple hats.

Think about virtual shopping, or tools like HERO that allow customers to video chat and text with store affiliates while they shop online.

Adam Levene, CEO of HERO explains this trend 😛 TAGEND

What HERO does is connect a shopper who’s online who needs that same succour, same revelation and counseling as they would usually find in the physical accumulate, and we allow them to get that whilst patronizing online. But instead of speaking to a bot, instead of speaking to someone in the customer service center, they’re speaking to an expert, a sales associate from the storage nearest to them and through text and through chat, through video announcing, they’re able to connect and get that same IRL experience online.

While these experiences may not be traditional, they present unique the possibility for your customer services to shine.

It might voice daunting, but fetching your store affiliates into brand-new capacities that balance brick’n’mortar work with digital consultations forms the kind of one-on-one connection that shoppers crave.

Knix Wear has concluded big success with their virtual styling program, inducing it a permanent case of their business.

“We’re seeing about a 70 to 75 transition proportion from appointments in terms of purchase, ” said Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO.

Joanna continues: “What we’re hearing from people is they’re actually preferring it over an in real life fitting because it’s roughly more intimate, but without the awkwardness. Now it’s a big part of our company.”

It’s more personal, more helpful, and spurs patriotism on a rank that is difficult to match with a traditional ecommerce experience.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Train your retail staff on ecommerce implements, tech, inventory, and the ways that these digital points play into their day-to-day characters; Enable live chat on your website, and train store associates to run the accounting Utilize a tool like HERO to add live video announcing and online consultation to your storage; Improve a virtual styling curriculum; Host live Q& A sessions with store affiliates; Highlight your accumulation accompanies on social media and use them as firebrand representatives.

6. Experiential, personalized in-store suffers

With in person shopping down over the last year for self-evident intellects, that aims associates can spend more time with the people shopping.

Think of it as something closer to showroom retail: one-on-one personalized know-hows that give the customer a sense of what the fuck is certainly mean to your business.

Universal Standard is taking such approaches and getting amazing upshots. And it does sense- as way brands, they’re able to leverage their accompanieds as mode consultants, guaranteeing clients an unprecedented level of day and attention.

Alexandra Waldman, Co-Founder and CEO of Universal Standard told me about this non-traditional approach 😛 TAGEND

“We wanted to create a much more personal experience. So we created a space where you were one on one with a stylist. You made an appointment, or even if you dropped in. It is very much your space.”

As we continue to move through this “new normal”, increased in-store experiences and society tie will be highly sought after.

We can look to modern retailers, like Daily Paper, for evidence of this trend. Jefferson Osei, Co-Founder explained why the team built experiential cavities, like a rooftop coffeehouse, into the design of their brand new flagship store in NYC.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible at this moment in time but looking forward, we really think that the collect in New York will become a community hub where all these people can get together and link with like knowledge beings. And the infinite will also serve as an educational space. We will dedicate certain areas to host certain initiatives, working in collaboration with young ability in and around New York, and too collaborate with local initiatives and other parties.

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How to embrace this trend( post-pandemic ):

Look at ways to reshape your physical layout to encourage customers to spend more time in-store; Add tablets or QR codes for customers to engage with in your physical point Initiate openings( like Instagrammable reflects) that drive action with the space and your brand alongside obtaining; Train your accumulation accompanies for longer, more intensive interactions; Host parish affairs like workshops, gratifies, or improves Offer your infinite for tariff for your customers; Add additional knows, like a coffee bar, into your collect; Lower your furnish and construct out its own experience. For example, that could mean use a 3PL or warehouse to conclude more space and give buy in store, ship to home

7. Micro-retail

Moving forward, there are tons of the chance to labels to offer smaller, boutique ordeals that still equip the physical, “three-dimensional” approach to shopping that we crave.

So what does that was like? It can be a micro-retail point, as in the case of online bakery Klado, which chose to open a 50 square foot storefront. For benefactors Jen Prado and Jesse Klee, it was about creating an intimate “hole in the wall” experience for their customers.

Pop-ups are another energizing road to offer tons of opportunity for low-cost experimentation, and even if inventory is limited, these infinites can drive traffic to your online accumulate, setting up a multi-dimensional connection with customers.

Even opening a orientation inside of another collect can be a great opportunity to connect with a new gathering. Sephora has been doing this for well over a decade, but more recently Birchbox has viewed enormous makes opening up a popup inside of the Washington DC location of Rent the Runway.

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Basically, low-toned overheads, deeper parish alliances, and a fiction browsing knowledge establish micro-retail a great opportunity for originating brands.

The trick here is to lean into the things that already work for your brand. Knowing your backbones and amplifying them in a smaller opening is your best bet.

Is the width of your inventory a big draw? Micro-retail might not be the privilege move.

However, if clients affection interacting with your affiliates, putting that know-how front-and-center in a smaller space can construct lifelong connections.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Partner with other brands to build micro patronize knowledge; Host parish occasions; Explore the unique suffers a smaller space can offer; Prioritize safety expend digital tools- i.e. tracking the number of purchasers in-store Collect email message or phone numbers to create digital contacts after auction; Do imaginative: Retail doesn’t ever planned four walls;

8. Local partnerships

While 2020 was full of uncertainty, one positive that we’ve seen, is new partnerships between business offering rousing client experiences.

Many cafes have started selling groceries from neighbourhood raises. My go-to cycling studio in Colorado Springs beginnings their t-shirts from the printing shop next door.

Common People Shop, a small retailer in Ontario who was forced to close down their collect, has leveraged a local partnership to keep curbside pickup as an option.

Steph LaPosta, co-owner of Common People illustrates 😛 TAGEND

When we decided to face the reality that now was no longer the time and space for our Brick+ Mortar, we knew the decision to close would not only impact the growth of our business, but our connection with local communities. As we began to experiment with ways to keep that connection alive we knew one thing — we had to find somewhere local that we could partner with, to still offer curbside pickup. That’s where Parkdale Pet Foods came in. Partnering with them made we have been able to drive traffic and scrutiny their direction, give them a portion of our profits, and maintain both our brands alive and flourishing in the Parkdale community.

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This kind of collaboration is really common between DTC brands( anyone retain the BarkBox+ Glossier toys ?), and it’s so exciting to see retailers forking out in same ways.

It’s all about noticing jobs with complementary furnishes that don’t compete with yours. Think creatively about the differences between needs that you can meet for your customers and the ways that other brands in your regional economy can help that partnership.

Having a strong sense of your own audience and that of potential collaborators( i.e. some overlap, but still definite subsets) will really help these partnerships succeed.

How to embrace this trend 😛 TAGEND

Connect with other brands in your arena and learn what they’re working on; Put together a co-marketing digital campaign; Create content for another retailer; Form popups within each other’s supermarkets Release co-branded concoctions Team up on give-back expeditions within their own communities Use social media to contact each other’s audiences Look for mutually beneficial ways to build a better client event( or encounter specific purchaser needs) together

9. Virtual experiences

Your brand has more to offer than time your produces. Every business is made up of experts on a range of topics.

Many diners are offering online cook categories with starter packs. Prohibits are creating online mixology categorizes. Yoga studios are offering virtual sessions.

Universal Standard is a standout in this category. They’ve partnered with Airbnb to host online deciphers of their children’s book, “What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us, ” building an extraordinary connection between the brand and the community they serve.

The trick here is building an online platform for your symbol that converges a range of customer needs and empowers them to get involved in your products, impressions, and goal in new ways.

There are plenty of ways to offer both education and gears that give purchasers learn or take part in something new and mitts on.

How to embrace current trends 😛 TAGEND

List out the important elements of your brand experience and define what can thrive online; Cause employing digital occasions that complement your makes; Prioritize parish and connection between customers as well as with your brand; Qualify your staff with a specific focus on virtual suffers; Talk with your clients about the kinds of episodes that be stimulating and valuable to them; Consider partnering with a complementary label to broaden the audience.


As retailers continue to adapt to a new world of commerce, there’s spate of opportunities to build a thriving brand and business.

If you don’t have an a website or online accumulate, consider investing in setting that up. Even post-COVID, countless consumers will be able expect new realization options such as curbside pickup, regional give, and contactless remittances. Having a digital spirit alone isn’t enough, the entire event should be seamless both in-store and online. Now is a great time to focus on serving your regional community. Your accumulate accompanies can be a great resource to educate and perform your customers through digital consultations and other virtual interactions. Consider experimenting with unique and personalized in-store ordeals. Micro retail points can also be an effective way to create a memorable know. Local partnerships offer an opportunity to better serve your customers and enter new groceries.

While overcoming these unique challenges won’t be easy, we’re entering a wide open frontier with perpetual likelihoods. Things have been rough, but I, for one, am feeling optimistic about the future.

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