This article is part of Raydiant’s Future of Brick and Mortar Retail series featuring interviews with industry experts and thought leaders with the goal of providing actionable insights that can help brick and mortar retailers prepare for what lies ahead.
The following is an interview we had with Staci Pearlman, Co-founder of elfin los angeles
What are the 3-5 top trends that will shape brick and mortar retail in 2021?
- Appointment Shopping – this cultivates a safe, personal experience for customers.
- Virtual Shopping – this allows for a safe shopping experience without ever leaving the house.
- Increased Support for Small Businesses – people want to support small businesses now more than ever, so when a brick and mortar is showing support for other small (especially local) businesses, it will help them stand apart from the rest.
- Concierge-level Customer Service for All Customers – excelling at customer service, especially now, will make customers want to shop with you, rather than buy from more convenient sites like amazon, overstock, etc.
What technologies will have the biggest impact on brick and mortar retail in 2021?
- Contactless shopping – customers don’t want to exchange cash or even pull out a credit card anymore. Payment solutions such as venmo & apple pay will become even more normalized in 2021.
- Omnichannel capabilities – solutions to aggregate inventory will be more important than ever, customers will want to know that what is available online, is also in-store and vise versa.
- Easy appointment booking solutions – that allow customers to easily book appointments so they know they can plan their shopping visits easier, think open table for retail stores.
- BOPIS and curbside with an easy, seamless experience – safety continues to be the customer’s number 1 concern, and curbside makes the ability to shop and pick up orders in real-time even easier. Customers want the ease of online shopping with the convenience of receiving their orders same-day.
What should brick and mortar retailers be doing now to prepare for 2021?
SP: Focusing on customer service. Now, more than ever before, the shopping experience is key. Whether it’s meeting customers at the store during off-hours, FaceTiming them for virtual shopping, or mailing them boxes to try on and keep or send back, people are focused on this aspect and going the extra mile more than ever.
In the midst of so much change and uncertainty, what’s the future of brick and mortar retail look like?
SP: I think people are really embracing the appointment shopping model. This service provides a more personal, curated, and SAFE shopping experience, resulting in better relationships with customers and also an overall better experience for the shopper.