After a tumultuous year, smart retailers are making these changes to have a successful 2021

Remember when trend reports came out predicting big things for the retail industry in 2020? Yeah, those didn’t work out. We know that retail trends are subject to change due to global forces outside of anyone’s control, and the business looks completely different than it did two years ago. But for smart retailers, this is an exciting time of change and experimentation that will transform how the industry looks for generations to come. Here are three ways they’re changing the retail game.

1. Ecommerce and social platforms

When physical retail stores closed suddenly amid social distancing orders, luckily there were digital platforms already there to support a quick and dramatic shift to online sales. But social commerce is an even more intuitive way to reach new customers – the National Retail Federation even said, “If asked to identify the indisputable breakout trend for 2021, no doubt it would be social commerce,” which is predicted to grow poised to grow by $2,051 billion during 2020-2024.

According to, TikTok has partnered with Shopify, Snapchat’s Native Stores have expanded, and Facebook (and Instagram) has released its Shop function – and this is just the beginning of innovations in social shopping.

2. Shopping locally, and with integrity

Consumers know that their dollars matter more than ever before, and they’re using that power to communicate their values. According to Forrester, “41% of US consumer want to buy from a company associated with social, environmental, and political ideals.” Luckily for small businesses, that largely includes supporting local shops and retailers. 

According to Shopify, 23% of consumers shop at local or independent retailers to reduce their environmental impact. Consumers also say their reasons for shopping local are to strengthen the local economy (57%), support local job creation (41%), and invest in their community (35%).

3. Designing for experience

Online services are a must right now – but that doesn’t mean physical stores are a thing of the past. Brick and mortar shops have an opportunity to reinvent how they look, operate, and create an experience for their customers. Forbes reports that the British collective New West End Company is “improving the experiential, mixing shopping experiences with world class commercial, cultural, residential and hospitality” in 2021. While some brands like Marvel and Nike can do big-budget activations – aka, “retailtainment” – any retailer can create “immersive, Instagrammable experiences” that “can bring the brand alive in a way that digital means can’t.”


How are you reinventing your retail business in this new world?