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 John Moss, CEO of English Blinds.
What are the 3-5 top trends that will shape brick and mortar retail in 2021?
JM: Remote assistance (such as by video comms and using “help” buttons to communicate remotely with sales staff) are likely to see far greater levels of uptake in 2020, as is the integration of RFID and other smart tech to enable shoppers to find out more about the goods they’re viewing without face-to-face interaction.
Directing the customer journey (in a similar way to Ikea’s mandated routes around the store but less annoying!) is also likely to become popular, as this will help enable stores to manage the paths taken by shoppers around the store, and keep them physically distanced from each other.
What technologies will have the biggest impact on brick and mortar retail in 2021?
JM: RFID is probably the tech that is most going to come into its own in 2021, and it is already seeing a sharp uptick in integration for everything from restaurant menus to descriptions of gallery exhibits. This is likely to have become the norm rather than “hey that’s new” in most cities by the end of 2021.
What should brick and mortar retailers be doing now to prepare for 2021?
JM: Preparing for 2021 means preparing for the unexpected; which might seem like an oxymoron, but really it means shaping the business into a position that makes it lean and adaptive, able to predict future trends, and mitigate would-be pain points for shoppers in an uncertain wider environment.
In the midst of so much change and uncertainty, what’s the future of brick and mortar retail look like?
JM: Looking longer term than simply the coming year ahead, brick and mortar retail is likely to go through perhaps its biggest evolution to date. It is not, as the naysayers would have us believe, ever going to become extinct; but it might become almost unrecognizable.