The BTM Team’s Predictions for Retail Tech and Trends in 2021

Retail has evolved in the last several years, from ecommerce to ERV to contactless payments. On top of these changes were the impacts from COVID-19 in 2020, which we’ll continue to feel for the near future.

All of this is changing retail even more quickly and drastically. Some members of our team laid out their predictions of the trends and changes we’ll see in 2021 and beyond.

Brian V., Business Development Director
In general, online sales are going to soar while in-store sales will shrink. Exceptions will happen in home improvement, everyday essentials and grocery. Starting in the middle of 2021, spending on dining, vacations and travel (and related areas) is going to explode. Retailers need to be ready because this surge will be fast and furious.

The retailers who are ready will be able to capitalize on it.

Sunny B., Business Development Executive
Multi-channel fulfillment will be of even greater importance. Just take a look at your local Target store, where parking lot pickups have increased dramatically. A lot more customers are going to want their merchandise going through customer pickup channels. Store pickup is here to stay, and it’s going to grow in 2021.

In addition, foot traffic is going to be much higher when compared to the previous year. Retailers will need to have tweaked forecasts and have plans in place for procurement so they can be in stock for the increased business. I think retailers in the recreation and sporting space should be especially prepared for this.

Kyle W., Solution Architect Manager
The traditional “mall” will continue to decline and the need for retailers to have a physical presence is out. 2020 proved that stores are not truly needed for many retailers. Key strategic locations and a large online/mobile presence will be critical, along with the systems and processes to satisfy customers (a lot of retailers still have terrible omni-channel processes).

Most analysts and media have overlooked the startingly fast rise of machines. As supplies continue to dwindle, prices will rise and output from certain manufacturers won’t keep up because of COVID-related employee illnesses or other reasons they can’t come to work. Machines do not get sick and they do not take a day off. I think the move to machines is coming a lot sooner than most people expect.

Yen N., Solution Architect
Although more customers are choosing a multi-channel buying experience, but most retailers can’t keep up with the new normal. Customers are viewing products in the store and making purchases online, or vice versa. They are expecting what they see in the store or online will be available for them to purchase anywhere. In 2021, they must focus on creating fluid transitions and providing a seamless online and in-store experience. Accurate cross-channel inventory is one of the keys to this success.

There are many retail software solutions that can help drive marketing and sales, but these technologies don’t really work well together. Customer data are collected from multiple sources (e.g. in the store, online or mobile app…etc.). These data are often store in multiple places; they are not saved in one central repository and they can’t be easily accessed by the business or marketers to analyze for marketing efforts.

In 2021, retailers must improve, streamline and centralize customer data so they can deliver relevant content across all customer interaction points for a seamless cross-channel experience.

Want to know how BTM can help your business be ready? Learn more about our Oracle Retail and NetSuite services.