The global pandemic has affected the world in many ways leading to a change in lifestyle, work environments, personal preferences, and predictions for the future. In this article, we will explore the current and awaiting trends and challenges in the retail market.
For a significant period of time sectors including fashion and food and beverage were the most negatively impacted industries during the pandemic. Malls, cafés and restaurants were all closed, whilst other businesses that offered online shopping grew vastly.
Many popular fashion brands went bankrupt and had to close down their franchise stores permanently due to COVID-19. The retail market was majorly impacted considering the high level of human resources involved in the industry.
Revealing the Retail Trends & Challenges
While brands are trying hard to overcome the hardships and recover during 2021, experts reveal insights into the trending retail innovations.
COVID-19 has changed our lifestyle drastically within several months of its occurrence. Ever since personal safety measures were no longer, solely, an efficient solution businesses have had to adopt strict procedures for keeping the environment sanitized and clean. This was, and still is, especially emphasised in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industries where, around the world, policies and protocols were created on how to check and control the safety standards of food making and distribution.
Businesses had to earn the trust of their customers by adhering to the hygiene and sanitisation protocols set out.
The E-Commerce Boom
E-commerce has been growing rapidly for the last few years. However, there is no denying that the pandemic has accelerated its expansion worldwide. Nowadays, it is possible to buy merely anything online.
While the e-commerce industry is so great and convenient, nothing can be of success without causing some – or any – harm in the way.
Online shopping was, and currently still is, a huge cause for unemployment. A lot of people lost their jobs, but the vast majority of them are not required to come back anymore.
The growth of online shopping expanded the need for online support too. Many brands shifted to remote chat and call support in order to assist their customers shopping online in making the right decisions in their purchases. Good customer service relationships have always been and will continue to be, the key to a successful sales business.
Augmented Reality (AR), machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have made the e-commerce experience more real than ever. Brands such as IKEA, Home Depot, Target, Shopify and Amazon have all introduced AR to their e-commerce platforms.
This has very much enhanced their online shopping platforms making it simpler and a more pleasant experience for shoppers. Just find the product you need and check its size and appearance in your room with the use of a smartphone. Magic!
Personal Care Products
Last year witnessed a record in sales of hygiene and self-care products. The pandemic has profoundly changed the consumer’s mindset about cleaning and antiseptic products and created the need for higher than usual levels of sanitisation in stores and restaurants.
Sanitizing products led to the need for hand skincare and masks led to ‘maskne’ – which, in turn, lead to the need for new experiments in facial treatment.
You want it now, today, tomorrow? Delivery has never been as fast as it is today. Those who managed to go online in time have discovered faster and effective ways of delivery. The key factors are the level of hygiene and the accuracy of the delivery.
Artisan Product Growth or DIY
The worldwide lockdown has become a perfect time for discovering and developing new skills and capabilities. Some of us looked differently at managing the household, cooking homemade food and making use of the backyard. You may go green, right at home, by simply trying to plant flowers and vegetables in your backyard!
Review Based Reputation
Word-of-mouth is now the new “number of stars” a product or a dish has on its order page. If in the past we trusted store assistants or pharmacists, we now check the reviews and feedback of other consumers before clicking the buy button.
Such behaviour has obliged brands and distributors to produce and sell products and food of much better quality. Competition is competition no matter offline or online!
These challenges have also had an impact on the UAE market. Trying to keep the country open for tourism, the UAE managed to overpass the mall and food supply crisis. We developed a ‘hybrid’ approach combining safe offline and online shopping standards.
The UAE Retail market continues to flourish, despite the pandemic, with brands such as CZN Burak in Boulevard Point, Samsung’s largest shop-in-shop in MENA at Times Square Center, and Philip Morris in Dubai mall.