The future of retail in the post-COVID world

Global reality changed radically during the coronavirus pandemic. The danger is still not completely gone, but there is no doubt it shifted many businesses and changed consumer habits forever. Today we want to focus on retail — the basic pillar of the economy and one of the main industries that were influenced by Covid-19.

Nowadays, we can buy almost anything, no matter where we are. Due to globalization, we are not surprised to see tropical fruits in European supermarkets or that we purchase clothes from a brand that was founded in America. For many people, going to the mall is a form of entertainment and one of the best ways to spend their free time. But what happens when suddenly you can’t visit all your favorite stores?

What changed during the pandemic

Let’s be honest — traditional retail was already evolving before the Covid-19 outbreak. Thanks to technological growth, we gained new ways of buying things or not buying them. Shifting to online shopping was one thing, but growing ecological trends made people reconsider their consumer behaviors and change some of their habits. Sharing economy, renting certain products — these are also dangers for retail as we knew it until recently.

Some categories of goods suffered more than others — that’s obvious. Food, cosmetics, fitness equipment, educational materials (for homeschooling) — they were definitely on the top of demanded products.

Now we will analyze trends that were born or became extremely popular during the pandemic and try to determine which ones are here to stay. What made the future of retail different because of Covid-19?

E-commerce acceleration and evolving consumer behaviors

Changing consumer behaviors mean that e-commerce stores need to optimize their processes to make them even more intuitive and user-friendly. They simplify checkouts, provide better security measures and find more ways to turn customers that visit their shop occasionally into loyal ones.

The growth in the e-commerce sector is visible and dynamic at the moment and there is no way to predict when it will stabilize. Until then, all the digital shops should look for ways to lead the clients to them. And everyone who is not online yet needs to quickly rethink their business strategy.

Gathering information about potential clients

Different pickup methods

In Poland, InPost was a company that could proudly announce its success during Covid-19 thanks to its innovative service called Parcel Lockers. These machines allow people to receive packages without seeing or talking to anyone. And thanks to the remote locker opening feature, customers don’t even have to touch the machine’s computer screen which promotes hygiene and safety during the pandemic. Check out how we created this app for them and why it’s such a success in our blog article about that!

For many companies, introducing a drive-through model or curbside pickup will be the only way to safely deliver their products and goods to their clients. 25% of consumers admitted that click-and-collect is one of the most important options when looking for a suitable e-commerce store.

Recreating offline relations in an online environment

Online presence is everything not only during the pandemic and after it. Modern websites, feature-rich mobile applications, user-friendly websites and web platforms help to grow sales and allow the clients to identify with the brand. Without visibility and accessibility, an online seller can’t even dream about success. And when people can’t leave their homes it becomes essential.

The technological outburst will support e-commerce activities

Cloud computing helps e-commerce stores to scale their operations and offer thousands of products to millions of users. Augmented reality (AR) can enhance online shopping experience — for example by giving furniture buyers a chance to visualize their new purchases in their homes. There are already first tests of robots as delivery machines — think autonomous cars or drones instead of couriers. Thanks to technology, pandemic lockdown becomes less annoying — because we can compensate for the lack of experiences we would have outside our homes with the possibilities it brings to us. And even after the pandemic, we will want all these conveniences to stay.

Summary

If your decision in 2020 is to build an app or a website, we can help. Contact us and tell us what you need exactly. With software products developed at iteo, you can be sure you will thrive during the pandemic and long after it.

human-centric software design & development. check out our website: www.iteo.com