The year 2020 turned the world upside down and retail was no exception. As we continue transitioning into a new year, hopeful for life to return to (somewhat) normal, it is critical for brands and retailers to keep the lessons learned from the past year top of mind to ensure preparedness and stability no matter what the future brings.
The keyword for retail in 2021 is agility — the unprecedented events of 2020 showed this industry the importance of shock-proofing business. Retailers need to expect the unexpected to solve the major problems experienced in the past year — and move their business forward.
The Right Kind Of Data Is Key
Implementing technology solutions that monitor shopper behavior, shelf conditions, inventory and sales can provide advanced notification to rapid changes in consumer behavior, giving retailers the information they need to quickly adjust to shifts in the market and prepare supply chains in a timely manner. Pricing strategy, competitor monitoring and promotional placement data is critical, but as we learned in 2020, historical sales data can no longer solely inform current consumer behavior. It’s important for retailers to consider ways to monitor what is happening in real time — in stores and on the shelves — to adjust production needs on the fly.
Omnichannel Is Here To Stay
Retailers should focus on improving the overall customer experience this year, preparing to service shoppers in whatever way they want to engage with the store. By investing in technology that supports omnichannel capabilities, retailers have one way to offer consumers incentives to return to brick and mortar stores through loyalty points for shopping their brands, stocking inventory that matches online options and personalized promotions. Retailers must also be mindful of the fragile economy and its impact on shoppers while planning assortments and ensuring there are enough choices for price-conscious consumers.
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