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 Werner Jorgensen, marketing & sales expert at Tooleto.
What are the 3-5 top trends that will shape brick and mortar retail in 2021?
Social commerce is emerging, thanks to the announcement of Instagram and Facebook shops. Since many people already shop from social media pages, social commerce will add to online shopping convenience, and people will find the experience very smooth. With COVID around and brick and mortar retail stores looking for online alternatives, this could be an important one.
AR-Powered Shopping Experiences
According to a survey, Augmented Reality is one of the top technologies individuals seek to assist themselves. With 51% saying they would be willing to use AR technology to assess products. Since many people shop online, AR will bridge the gap between digital and physical experience. AR in retails has been around since 2018; however, it is expected to become a priority in 2021.
Ethical and Values-Based Brands
While transparency, values, and ethics are not considered very important thus far, they are becoming more and more vital to users, and it’s about time brands consider them too. At this point, so many people have had a bad experience with online shopping that they now find it hard to trust a new source for purchase. Shoppers now evaluate retailers based on their ethics and values and then decide to buy.
What technologies will have the biggest impact on brick and mortar retail in 2021?
WJ: Augmented Reality is expected to bring the closest experience to physical shopping through technology. To bridge the physical gap between the product and the consumer before shopping, Augmented Reality will play a vital role. The AR experience will not be limited to brand shopping, instead implemented very commonly, even with small businesses. Shopify launched Shopify AR last year, an easy-to-use toolkit for businesses to create their own AR experiences to showcase their products to customers.
What should brick and mortar retailers be doing now to prepare for 2021?
WJ: Make plans for faster delivery.
Gone are the days when customers waited a week for their order to reach. Over the years, the delivery time has paced up. Amazon first launched 2-day delivery with the rise of Amazon prime, then the next day, and finally same-day delivery. Now, other names are following in the same direction, too, with Walmart giving a 2-hour express delivery option. Same-day delivery will become common in 2021, and you’ll need to match the market standards. Any customer will choose the store delivering faster.
In the midst of so much change and uncertainty, what’s the future of brick and mortar retail look like?
WJ: The future of Brick and Mortar stores for physical shopping remains uncertain. However, many brick and mortar stores will now have a running online business, which could be a permanent shift for some. If physical stores open and physical shopping does come back, many stores will now have to manage their online along with their physical business. This would need hiring more staff and resources, etc.