The year 2020 has come to a close—and what a year it has been. For retailers across all industries, the past year’s challenges have been anything but ordinary. The coronavirus outbreak has affected every aspect of daily life, including the way people work, socialize, their recreational activities, and the way they shop.
Before the pandemic, shopping was already becoming increasingly digital with the surge in online shopping; however, this accelerated the adoption of digital retail and eCommerce for many brick-and-mortar operations. Whether it was a response to public health and safety or just an aspect of our dependence on technology and digital preferences, many brick-and-mortar retailers have adopted online elements to enhance the shopping experience.
With uncertainty about what’s to come next year, this blog provides an overview of the top 5 rising retail trends to watch for in 2021, from the innovation of point of sale (POS) systems and the availability of advancing technologies.
1. More Payment Options at the Point of Sale
The first retail trend that can be expected in 2021 is the innovation of POS systems. If you’re still using an antiquated cash register with a card reader and no other payment options, you’re already behind the times. As the number of people who use smartphones increases every year, more people are storing their card information in eWallets, preferring to pay with their smartphone.
Retailers should anticipate this trend in 2021 and consider accommodating a range of payment options, including contactless, cardless, and eWallet payments. Additionally, retailers will want to consider adopting mobile POS devices to take payments curbside or anywhere in-store. As mobile POS payment transactions saw a 40.2% growth year on year growth, retailers should expect this trend to continue in the coming year.
To offer new payment options to their customers, retailers need to be prepared to expand their legacy POS systems to integrate payment plugins and applications. Leading options offer neat and tidy packaging into familiar operating systems that are intuitive and user-friendly.
While POS technology is advancing, so are the efforts of hackers. With point of sale so vital to business operations, it would be wise for retailers to ramp up the security of their POS to avoid data breaches and their consequences, such as hefty fines and lost customers.
2. The Rise of Self-Service
In addition to POS system innovation, self-checkout stations are another rising retail trend. Now more than ever, customers expect a quick and convenient shopping experience—with self-checkout stations, you can offer them just that. Self-checkout stations work to keep social distance, eliminate long lines, and free up staff to focus on customer service during heavy traffic times.
Of course, retailers will want to ensure that the self-checkout solution is easily accessible and easy to use; without ease-of-use, retailers risk harming the efficiency of their operations instead of improving them, on top of unhappy customers. The right self-checkout solution will streamline your operations and put the power in the hands of the customer.
3. More Focus on Personalized Marketing
Personalized marketing and service are no longer reserved for the elite. Innovative POS technology is ushering mass-personalization for everyone. In fact, a recent study reported that 77% of consumers have chosen or remained loyal to a brand or store that provided a personalized shopping experience.
In 2021, retailers can expect the increasing demand for personalized marketing among customers to continue. A personalized marketing approach will allow you to track customer shopping behavior, using the information to offer relevant promotions or gift and loyalty programs. With recommendation engines in eCommerce, you can even provide personalized product suggestions for online shoppers.
A personalized marketing approach in 2021 will boost your average transaction by increasing impulse buys, targeting customers based on past purchases, and incentivizing higher margin or complimentary items. Paired with flexible promotions and a loyalty program, you can keep them coming back for more.
4. Implementation of Multichannel Commerce
Multichannel commerce is an excellent way to maximize sales performance and is being adopted by all kinds of businesses, including grocery stores, natural health, pharmacy, and—you got it—retailers. With the pandemic forcing many customers to do their shopping online, eCommerce has skyrocketed in popularity.
By setting up an eCommerce store, you will enjoy various benefits, including access to a broader reach of customers, real-time data, and lower operating and set up costs. And since it’s online, you can conveniently be open 24/7, increasing the number of customers you can serve in a day. POS software systems are even integrating with eCommerce platforms to help you easily set up an online store with existing inventory.
Retailers can also leverage social media by offering their products on social apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Through social selling, you can market to a younger, more digital-driven audience. You can even partner with popular influencers to sell directly to your consumers. Additionally, you can create shoppable posts on Facebook and Instagram, including links to your products right in the photo for quick access. With 74% of consumers relying on social media for information to help them with purchases, it would be a mistake to ignore this retail trend in 2021.
5. Increased Use of Data and Analytics
To make the customer shopping experience even smoother and more seamless, retailers should consider utilizing data and analytics. POS data collected can help you gain insight into your customers’ preferences and habits and help you make more informed decisions about your business. In addition to your POS, data can also be collected from customers themselves; 83% of shoppers are willing to provide their information to get a good experience.
Further, 81% of retailers strived to implement unified commerce solutions for data collection and reporting by 2020. In 2021, if you’re not analyzing your data and analytics, you’re behind the competition. It’s time for retailers to take advantage of POS systems with comprehensive data collection and analytics.
The retail industry is on the verge of a whole new world; store owners and managers are challenged now more than ever to embrace advancing technology as it evolves in order to stay relevant and competitive. With POS technology systems that meet oncoming retail trends such as data analysis, eCommerce, self-service, and new payment options, retailers can offer customers an enhanced in-store and online experience that will help their business thrive in 2021.
Auto-Star offers comprehensive point of sale technology solutions to meet the challenges retailers face in day-to-day business. Robust yet scalable features support retailers with the ability to grow with their business. Contact Auto-Star for innovative POS solutions that support the retail trends predicted for 2021 and beyond.