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Retail Marketing 2021: Trends of the Post-Crisis Year

July 23, 2021
It would seem that the pandemic will end, and everything will go back to normal. But what's normal? According to a McKinsey poll, more than 75% of consumers who have changed their shopping behavior in the last year will not return to their usual habits even after the Pandemic eases.
Today, industry stakeholders are concerned with only one question: how to keep pace with new patterns of consumer behavior? In this article, Serge Galeev, CEO at Displayforce gives an answer to it.
How Did Marketing Evolve During the Crisis?
As consumer behavior changes, so does marketing. During the crisis, the following three trends have become apparent, shaping the future of communication with clients.
1. Ubiquitous Digitalization
Overall digitalization is the main thing that happened in the last year with retail. Digitalization has occurred in response to the rise in online shopping: during the pandemic many sellers increased their online customer base by more than 10%.

One example of that: brands have had to quickly ramp up e-commerce by adding more delivery points or introducing new online shopping options.
2. Social Commerce
Social media has long become a staple on the list of must-have marketing channels in retail. According to Statista, more than 40% of surveyed admitted to spending longer on messengers and social media in 2020. This turned social media into a full-fledged shopping platform.

Analysts predict a bright future for social commerce: the social commerce market will grow by an average of more than 30% annually and will reach $604.5 billion by 2027.
3. Emphasis on Values and Social Responsibility
The thesis that one should put the customer before money has long gained popularity, but nowadays it is a must. The public expects from brands not only attention to their needs but also social responsibility.

For example, 90% of the surveyed in the Edelman study believe that brands should have protected the health and well-being of their employees. Other important factors for people: racial equality and readiness to address social problems. In new reality customer trust in a brand is what affects sales.
Marketer's Must-Haves in 2021
Trend and context analysis suggests that a marketing strategy for retail in the near future should include the following three components:
1. Priority of loyalty
According to the McKinsey Global Data Survey, 60% of consumers committed "customer betrayal" by switching to other brands during the crisis mostly because of the higher degree of quality or convenience.

Of course, such a shift undermined years of efforts of gaining loyal customers for many retailers. And now brands have to upgrade their approach towards loyalty systems. One eminent way for it is subscription services. For instance, Walmart Plus, which members can enjoy free deliveries, special prices on fuel, and a mobile Scan&Go feature.
2. Personalised Omnichannel
Retailers need to provide a seamless customer experience that engages and rewards the customer in the same way, regardless of channel. Lightspeed, for example, has launched an omnichannel loyalty solution for this purpose. It includes unified loyalty campaigns, brand ambassador bonuses, and a mix of online and offline experiences.
3. Customer Experience Through the Lens of Technology
Technologies will become an integral part of customer-seller communication. For example, BevMo!, a California-based alcohol retailer, uses voice recognition technology to help people buying whiskey by using audible feedback which limits buying options based on customer's preferences. The audible feedback narrows down the customer's options just to three based on consumer preferences which were previously named by a customer.

The other interesting model of embedding technologies in retail marketing is Digital Signage. At Displayforce, our expertise lies in the implementation of complex solutions to transform traditional in-store marketing using digital signage and making communications with buyers hyper-personalized with the help of AI.

Retail marketing in 2021: what is it like? It may be a transitioning phase with an emphasis on converging online and offline. It is expected that physical retail will set a course for a slight development in sales. In this case, marketers will have to find the right balance between virtual and non-virtual channels. Also, brands will need to adapt to the new consumer needs and learn how to satisfy them.
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