The pandemic lockdowns have harshly divided the retailers into essential and nonessential businesses due to drastic financial fallout in consumers in 2020. Most of the global retailers and brands in 2021 will now be figuring out which mode they belong to: survival, adaptive, or growth mode — and their path ahead. Many confident and savviest retailers and brands have started adapting and investing in the process of accelerating their digital transformation by every passing months or even years.
Worldwide retailers, brand makers, and ecosystem players like mall operators are completely reconsidering their businesses and methods of working, indicating much change in the coming time.
Among many fields, in 2021 we can predict that:
1. Logistics will dictate and also dominate retail investments.
If at all we have to describe it in one word, then it’s basically about distribution. Global retailers such as Alibaba, Amazon, Carrefour, and Walmart have invested in logistics for many years — but the year 2020 and its pandemic conditions truly tested the logistic capabilities for these companies and also many others.
Thus in 2021, we’ll get to see retailers and brands investing profoundly in everything from micro-fulfillment points and dark stores to subscription models, drop-shipping loyalty programs to lock in customers and superior demand prediction.
2. Mall operators will need to rediscover themselves.
The most savviest mall operators might just see a renaissance in 2021 — but definitely with new business models and fresh purpose after facing traditional tenant bankruptcies, extra capacity, and long-term social distancing requirements.
Mall operators have the space required for lockers, pick-up points, dark stores, and even kitchens that retailers need. Mall operators will take a taste of the revenues similar to just like they do it for in-mall purchases.
3. Brand manufacturers will now take charge of their destiny.
To regain back their distribution reins, the brand manufacturers will have to again proactively master their supply chain patterns, fully revamp their distribution system, and strap up the AI-based retail planning.
We’ll also get to see more direct-to-consumer investment that will improve margins and in addition also develop direct relationships with their customers for the longer term.
Though it won’t be easy to strategically manage the high-volume online marketplaces, still these brands will ultimately control their future and flourish too.