Where did the year go? November 3rd, 2020 is nearly here. It will be a day of reckoning for many politicians, but also has deep fiscal meaning for us as consumers in our personal and professional lives. Everyone will be impacted deeply by what comes next. My predictions are as follows:
Retail will thrive: First of all, the economy will continue its upward trajectory. There is another stimulus imminent, irrespective of who wins. The fundamentals continue to be strong. Retail sales continue to exceed expectations. September sales were up 1.9% from August and 5.4% more than September 2019. The holiday season is expected to be a blockbuster. American consumers are not easily fazed!
Innovators will survive: Forbes reports that per Deloitte, the biggest increase will come from purchases that are not entirely in a store. Multi-channel sales will increase by a whopping 25-35% for the period between November and January. There are many categories of retail such as expensive apparel and automobiles that work much better in a brick and mortar setting. However, the buying process for most now includes an online research phase. Retailers - both online and offline - have to create a seamless multi-channel offering, transform their supply chains, and do so much more differently in order to be successful post COVID.
Experience is the new “Black”: Experiential retail will win in the long term. Customers are willing to pay more for an experience that is more than just acquiring merchandise: maybe a beneficial social interaction or access to expertise around an interest. Augmented and Virtual Reality, for instance, have the potential to create happy and loyal customers who will keep coming back.
As we look back at 2020 in the years ahead, we will wonder how we were able to function with a pandemic spreading like wildfire. Will we also look back at 2020 as the year when we transformed retail?