By Paul Griffiths, President and CEO, APG Cash Drawer, LLC
The U.S. and global economies saw significant upheaval because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from grocery, the retail industry took the brunt of the pandemic. The challenges were widespread and resulted in an alarming number of both temporary and permanent store closures. In the coming year, the retail sector will continue to make adjustments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be new challenges, which inevitably will spur the adoption of new technologies and business practices in the ongoing battle between online and brick-and-mortar.
Here are the major trends to watch in 2021:
1. People Crave Connection
Some changes will become permanent, but one thing unlikely to change is the human desire for contact with others. A need for human connection is one of the biggest reasons physical stores aren’t facing extinction, despite current challenges. Brick and mortar retail is here to stay though the core functions may be repurposed; many may become mini distribution centers. No matter how many shopping-related tasks you can complete online, people still crave interaction with store employees and other customers when visiting stores. You cannot replicate certain aspects of the in-store shopping experience. The retail technology used to empower and improve the customer experience is what will set brick and mortar retailers up for success in the new year.