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Retail 2021 Trends

What do we have ahead of us for 2021? Honestly, no one can really be certain. But there are a few trends which I anticipate playing a big role in 2021 consumerism. Some new, some old, some re-jigged.

DTC Focused; Direct To Consumer (also know as D2C).

During the first lockdown, we saw a rise in the number of consumers wanting to shop directly with the brand - cutting out the middleman or wholesaler. This is a trend that is expected to continue into the new year. This habit is also seeing larger brands branch out into new categories to serve their customers in a bigger way.

This isn't to say that brands should shy away from building wholesale relationships. It just means you should consider 2 options.

  • Ensuring you have an offering (product) on your e-commerce platform that is exclusive to you - sold nowhere else.

  • Be really mindful of who you are going into partnership with. It needs to be an equally beneficial relationship, where both can gain and market each other.

For the wholesalers, this is where you need to be exploring new, fresh options that truly align with your customer. They will continue to shop with you if you are solving problems, suggesting "perfect" product, all while maintaining your brand values and ethos.

Sustainability Vision.

As a whole, a lot of sustainability goals around supply chains will have taken a big hit throughout 2020. Just as a result of trying to meet customer demands - improved speed, response rate, resilience. But the focus will be back as we enter the new year.

Whatever the size of the business, conversations around your supply chain, sustainability values, social conscious needs to be at the forefront of what you do and what you are talking about. It will become a responsibility of the brand, retailer, enterprise or organisation to take their carbon footprint very seriously. Rather than a "do-good" action.

Live Streaming.

It's believed that Live Streaming will become the fasting growing categories in e-commerce. We can't replace the touch, feel, experience factor of a physical store - but brands are able to get pretty close with the ability to live stream direct to consumers in the comfort of their own home.

It's been suggested by The Interactive Advertising Bureau that Livestream-generated sales could double to $120 billion worldwide in 2021. (!!!)

Social Commerce.

If having to choose just one top trend for 2021 it would have to be Shopping through Social Media. Adding to the notion that even though consumers are able to meet in person socially driven shopping is a big solution to our consumers. Allowing social commerce to potentially grow quicker than e-commerce did.

Technavio suggests that Social Commerce is set to grow by $2050 Billion during 2020-24 - that's over 30% each year.

On-Demand Manufacturing;

And finally, on-demand manufacturing will allow brands to respond quickly to customer demand, but with the added benefit of reduced waste. 2020 saw us learnt very quickly the downfall of the season ahead buying, forecasting and planning. Not that these processes are needed, but the lead times need to reduce to enable the brand to be nibble, reactive - as well as keeping less stock on hand so heading closer to a zero-waste goal. This isn't new, retail gods like Zara have been working this way for a while, but it is now apparent consumers what this now, more than ever.

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