Top Retail Innovation and Digital Sales Trends for 2021

Interpreting disruption in retail and digital sales

Relentless advances in technology and changes in consumer behaviour have always been critical for retail business. The retail industry is making greater strides to digital, leveraging cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, big data and analytics, etc. To deliver an exceptional customer experience, retailers always seek innovative solutions. This is vital because the number of visits to brick-and-mortar stores is plummeting year over year and online retail is thriving. This trend has seen a tremendous rise during the COVID-19 pandemic as it prompted a socially distanced era.

As there is always new technology introduced in retail for effective customer experience delivery, here are the top retail and digital sales trends everyone should look for in 2021.


Touchless Interaction

Touchless interaction is a new emerging way of interacting with customers and vis-à-vis. Through this contact-free interaction, retailers can eliminate or make virtually all human contact in customer service. The pandemic has accelerated touchless interaction and as brick-and-mortar stores are opening again, this approach has become inevitable. According to new research by user interface company Ultraleap, 82 per cent of respondents surveyed believed that touchless interfaces would be more hygienic and provide them with a better experience with protection. 


Online Stores in Offline Business

Many online, direct-to-consumer brands are increasingly establishing their physical presence. By moving to physical spaces too, they are allowing their customers to get benefitted from interacting with the product in person. It enables customers to see products online and try them in person. For example, Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar grocery store. Many other online brands like Glossier, Bonobos, Casper and Warby Parker have also expanded to physical presence.


Rise of AR-Powered Shopping

Augmented reality is increasingly taking place in the retail scenario as it allows customers to view their items virtually. AR applications in the industry have been on the rise with virtual try-on experiences before buying a product. Brands like IKEA, Home Depot, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, among others, use AR technology for a better shopping experience. AR-powered shopping provides a customer with large object visualization and a try-before-you-buy experience – smart mirror, for example.


Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is predicted to be the next big thing in digital marketing and sales. This marketing approach takes the idea of celebrity endorsement and places it into today’s content-driven marketing campaigns. Anyone can be an influencer who has large followers on different social sites as this marketing is mainly done digitally. According to the report, almost 40 per cent of people said they purchased a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter. Many brands have already started collaborating with influencers to create and share content on Instagram Live, IGTV, YouTube, and Facebook to build and foster digital communities.


Voice Search

With the advent of smart speakers or voice assistants, the future of voice search technology is endless. It improves a brand’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy as most individuals ask queries online through voice search. In the last few years, search engine giant Google has also improved its word recognition accuracy rate from below 80 to over 90 per cent. This means devices are getting easier to use and interact with through voice. 

What’s more, such innovation trends will extend with time and revolutionize the retail industry and digital sales while changing consumer behaviour.