As the calendar turns to a new year and you put new goals and plans into motion, it’s a good time to take a closer look at the latest retail trends. Retail’s competitive landscape has been evolving quickly in recent years, making staying on top of the trends more important than ever. This year’s five hottest trends reflect changing customer behaviors already set into motion, which gives retailers distinct opportunities to capitalize.
1. Omnichannel is no longer a “nice to have.”
The last two years made it official. Customers want both online and offline shopping options and choose where they buy accordingly. As of 2021, customers are making 43 percent of their monthly retail purchases online. At the same time, they place a high value on the ability to shift from a retailer’s e-commerce site to visiting a brick-and-mortar store and back again.
With nearly nine in ten retailers now offering an e-commerce option, successful retailers are turning their attention to making their omnichannel shopping experiences seamless for the customer. One essential is optimizing point-of-sale (POS) technology to integrate in-store and e-commerce data, including real-time inventory management, sales activity, customer profiles, and targeted marketing outreach. Delivering a seamless omnichannel experience gives retailers a long-term advantage. The customer lifetime value of omnichannel shoppers is 30 percent higher compared to single-channel shoppers.
Related: Omnichannel Retail: The POS Essentials That Make It Possible
2. Social commerce connects with customers.
More and more customers are making social media part of their shopping experience. From recommendations and research through advertising and click-to-buy strategies, social media is proving to be an effective and efficient way for retailers to reach new and existing customers. And the channel is expected to grow exponentially in the years ahead, with Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat making shopping a key strategic focus.
Smart retailers are ramping up their social media presence and marketing efforts. From there, social selling is a natural extension, and it’s paying off. Forty-three percent of retailers that sell via their social media platforms report half (or more) of their new revenues are driven by social media engagement.
3. Technology solutions to address hiring challenges.
The labor market is tight for retailers, with 42 percent of retail associates considering or planning to leave the retail workforce after the pandemic. And U.S. Department of Labor data shows retail workers are quitting at higher rates, leaving an estimated 350,000 retail jobs unfilled heading into the peak holiday shopping season in 2021.
While these stats mean retailers will need to adjust their approach to recruiting and retaining employees, they also point to an opportunity to optimize technology and automation. By taking full advantage of the automation capabilities provided through the best retail POS systems, retailers can significantly reduce time spent on essential manual tasks – like inventory intake, stock re-orders, and loyalty program management – without sacrificing quality.
Related: The Top 5 Things You Need in a POS System
4. Increased demand for payment options.
Customers are rapidly adopting contactless payments, with digital wallet users projected to nearly double by 2025. With 68 percent of customers saying they’ll shop more with retailers that offer digital wallet payment options like Apple Pay or Google Pay, retailers are looking for POS systems that enable them to handle digital payments and keep pace with customer preferences.
In addition to choices in payment methods, today’s shoppers also appreciate flexibility in how they pay. For example, the popularity of buy now pay later (BNPL), where shoppers make a down payment and then pay the remaining balance in installments, is proving to have staying power. Year over year, the use of BNPL for Cyber Monday purchases increased by 21 percent in 2021. Again, the best POS systems offer retailers the functionality to offer flexible payment options, such as recurring billing, layaway, and ongoing subscriptions.
5. Supply chain slowdowns through mid-year.
Supply chain issues are forecasted to continue through at least mid-year 2022, with 98 percent of retailers anticipating supply chain issues to continue to impact products, promotions, and profits well into 2022 and beyond.
One strategy that’s helping retailers minimize the effect on revenues is to recalibrate inventory management. Leveraging POS system functionality to adjust safety stock amounts and automated re-order trigger thresholds allows for longer order fulfillment and reduces out-of-stock situations to enable retailers to meet customer demands and preserve loyalty.
Related: Stockouts Cause Walkouts: 3 Ways to Avoid Out-of-Stock Inventory
Your POS system can play a critical strategic role in helping to turn current retail trends into an advantage for your retail business. Look to POSIM, an integrated point-of-sale and inventory management system, for the end-to-end capabilities you need to increase efficiencies and deliver for your customers. Discover which POSIM plan is right for your business and ask us for a demo today.