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 Colby Marple, Director of Retail Solutions, Spinlister.
What are the 3-5 top trends that will shape brick and mortar retail in 2021?
1. Online pre-booking for appointments (both in-store & virtual) is the new “step one” that every customer will expect and demand.
2. Customers want greater flexibility with upfront payment for high-priced items (ex. try-before-you-buy bicycle subscription).
3. One-to-one human connectivity for e-commerce transactions (video chat vs. chat window).
What technologies will have the biggest impact on brick and mortar retail in 2021?
CM: When customers can’t (or won’t) leave home due to COVID constraints, retailers need to “bring the store to the people” via Zoom. Instead of trying to explain what’s on the floor over the phone, retailers can now proactively showcase their inventory via one-on-one video calls.
What should brick and mortar retailers be doing now to prepare for 2021?
1. Enable online bookings on your business website and create an external calendar link for social channels to increase online booking activity.
2. Build daily staff schedules around appointment bookings. For example, offer appointments between 12 pm & 4 pm versus being open for walk-ins within select time periods.
3. Train all employees on how to operate Zoom meetings and how to “walk the floor” on video.
In the midst of so much change and uncertainty, what’s the future of brick and mortar retail look like?
CM: People want (and deserve) traditional retail experiences more than ever – as consumers are more mindful about buying local and supporting community businesses. However, retailers need to stay current by integrating online booking tools and video conferencing to bring aspects of e-commerce convenience to their in-store services.