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Retail Industry Insights in 2020

With COVID-19 taking the stage of industry change in 2020, consumer habits have been thrusted in waves of differing expectations, from delivery to an omnichannel shopping experience. With these new expectations, the industry is continually looking for ways to adapt and stay positive and successful during this tough year. As we move into Quarter 4 of 2020, it seems like we’re still trying to figure things out, but the pressure is rising for retail and e-Commerce owners with the impending holidays on the horizon.

What are some insights from the previous months of this year that can help shape the industry for the next few months? If consumer habits are finally finding a consistent grove, which niches will be the winners this Quarter? How can the retail industry benefit from this shift in Quarter 4?

Consumer Loyalty Shifts

COVID-19 has exhausted resources and availability of many products (especially essentials) in the industry. Data shows that this has paved the way for consumers to slack off on their loyalty to specific brands. They may have been forced to try new brands, since the product was sold out in their typical brand. But, in general, it seems that consumers are just frankly more willing to try new brands and branch out of their normal purchases.

According to McKinsey & Company, "over 60 percent of global consumers have changed their shopping behavior, many of them for convenience and value." Convenience has taken a whole new form this year, and it's clear from consumer behaviors, that they still value it as a decision maker for their purchasing habits. Offering convenience through local delivery is a way to grasp those wandering consumers.

With the slowing economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, monetary value is becoming another metric for consumer decisions, since many are changing what they buy to save money. Retail brands that see decreases in sales from this habit can find ways to adapt to this by changing their price models or launching a new affordable version of their product.

In 2020, brands have to find ways to stay relevant with their loyal customers, while also taking advantage of the chance to acquire new consumers that are straying away from their competitors.

Omnichannel and Online Shopping

Another thing we've learned through the changes in this year from the global pandemic is that retail consumers expect a seamlessly integrated online shopping experience. This experience is called Omnichannel retail. It's the connection of multiple channels that makes it as-easy-as-possible for consumers to purchase their products.

It gives consumers the chance to develop their own unique buying path and experience. With the dominance of online shopping in 2020, it has become an utter expectation for consumers. Along with the shift in loyalty, a large part of this expectation arises from a need and desire for convenience in retail shopping.

Being able to easily shift from a social media platform to an e-Commerce shopping cart with only a few clicks is the demand for digital retail. If brands don't keep up with the demand, they will start to fall behind quickly in the next coming months as the holiday season picks up.

Retail leaders are starting to take this a step further, offering options for local store pickup and delivery. This gives the consumer the chance to take control of the supply chain, too. Through this, their purchase is seamless, and they know the journey of the product from the shelf to their hands. In fact, retailers in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia area are getting on-board with this, using the OneVim app to schedule those deliveries for their empowered customers.

Delivery and Ship-from-Store

In addition to the Omnichannel focus for online retail and e-Commerce shopping models, optimizing for fast and reliable delivery is the key to convenience for consumers in 2020. If there's one thing retail can learn from the restaurant industry during COVID-19, it's that delivery has become a critical piece for reaching consumers that aren't leaving their homes.

Putting the focus on the last-mile efficiency of your business is one way to meet this demand. However, with the rising availability of inventory technology connecting the physical store to the online platform, local delivery from the store may be the most effective way to getting your products delivered to your customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If you have pickup-from-store enabled on your website, offering delivery to your local customers is the simple next step. Your staff already knows how to prepare for incoming orders, gathering the items from the shelves. The only addition you need is the location and address settings for the customer and a local courier to handle them at an on-demand capacity.

OneVim takes care of this for businesses in the DMV area. OneVim allows you or your staff to simply place the incoming orders on our app, by entering the pick-up and drop-off location, then scheduling for a future time or send ASAP. Getting your products quickly to your local customers and meeting their convenience needs through delivery is that easy.

Competitive Challenges

2020 is no easy year for any retail industry leader. Not a single one has not had trouble acquiring new customers, retaining loyal customers, getting products delivered quickly, or meeting the demand of e-Commerce. The industry has had to compile a decade of gradual change into one year, and its gears are churning non-stop to keep up with it. Things are only going to move faster soon, so it's critical to stay aware of your customers and constantly change to meet their demands.

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