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3 Retail Trends to Note in 2021

3 Retail Trends to Note in 2021
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It’s no secret that 2020 sparked unexpectedly profound change in the retail industry. The drastic circumstances rapidly accelerated industry trends that were already present –– and are sure to continue transforming in the year ahead.

With retail sales forecasted to rise 2.3% to $5.630 trillion globally, we can expect 2021 to be another influential year. This positive opportunity in the market is certainly a glimmer of hope to many post-2020, so let’s breakdown three keys to success that brands and retailers alike should keep on their radar.

Social Commerce

In 2020, social media went from a casual past-time to an integral part of communication, entertainment and, most notably, shopping. If you’re not yet familiar, social commerce allows users to make a purchase from a retailer directly through an app rather than a third-party website.

Social media apps are prioritizing the development of selling features such as Facebook’s Shops, an e-commerce platform for Facebook and Instagram, and Shopify’s partnership with TikTok. But it doesn’t stop there –- live-streaming is another highlight to social commerce. This allows for heightened customer engagement in a time where shopper interactions are limited.

Discover DTC IRL

As we venture back into an IRL (“in real life”) way of life thanks to vaccine distribution and increased safety measures country-wide, it’s just as important for brands and retailers to be expanding their IRL footprint as well as their digital one.

With screen-time at an all-time high, there’s sure to be backlash and a craving for concrete experiences as soon as it’s safe to do so. This leaves us with the question of how digitally-native, direct-to-consumer brands can continue to connect off-line. So far, the industry is seeing success with pop-ups, cross-industry collaborations, and small-scale fronts that act as an opportunity for streamlining logistics: i.e. Amazon’s pick-up/return counter in Kohl’s.

Brands as Thought Leaders

Post-2020, it’s clear that brands with strong ethics and a point-of-view have become leaders to consumers. Whether that means taking a stance or sharing your brand story and values, shoppers are all ears.

This doesn’t necessarily mean jumping on every situation to express an opinion; start by developing root values and align with storytelling and charitable initiatives that express your message. According to Forbes, 76% of Gen Z shoppers have bought a product to support issues the brand supports.

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