By Jeanne Hardy, Founder and President, Creative Business
Retailers are ready to make the most of limited in-store options and online shopping this year. And while the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the dramatic transformation of the consumer retail market, the trends that have been driving this transformation have actually been around for years. We may finally be at the tipping point – where old retail models move toward extinction and new trends in e-commerce and omnichannel retail become widespread.
Here are the 7 trends retailers will fall in love with:
- Livestream shopping. The modern update to QVC-type broadcasts, livestreaming allows brands and influencers to make entertaining pitches directly to consumers and drive immediate online purchases.
- Omnichannel CX. Omnichannel retailing in the future will be about more than buying online and picking up in-store; it also will be about how a brand interacts with customers across touchpoints – from livestream consultations and augmented-reality catalogs to pop-up shops and private sales – and ties that all together in real-time.
- Building community. Brands are finding creative ways to create communities with their customers, something that branding agency Pattern calls “direct with consumer.” This model is designed to “build intimacy at scale” through deeper consumer relationships.
- Brand activism. Companies have long supported charitable organizations through cause marketing, but usually shied away from political causes. Today’s consumers expect brands not only to speak up for social issues but also to take action in a meaningful way.
- Upcycling and reuse. Some of the world’s biggest luxury brands have begun to embrace upcycling, transforming “deadstock” into limited-series pieces. Other programs, such as Patagonia’s Worn Wear and The North Face Renewed, buy gently worn clothing from customers and refurbish them for resale.
- Re-commerce. New online marketplaces, such as ThredUp, Poshmark and
Depop, is revolutionizing the world of consignment and thrift shopping, creating vast communities where consumers and retailers alike can resell items quickly and efficiently through mobile devices.
- Rental/subscription retail. The concept of shared ownership has gained widespread acceptance, leading to the rise of rental platforms such as Zipcar, Rent the Runway, Fernish and ZZ Driggs – which offers furniture to rent or purchase. As a result, traditional retailers have started experimenting with rental models as well.
The bottom line
Consumers have become more digitally savvy than ever, shifting toward more local brands and those with a clear purpose. Consumers will continue to demand more community, convenience, and social impact from brands. And those retailers that understand and adapt quickly to these new ideals will be the ones to dominate the modern consumer marketplace.