As the nation’s largest private-sector employer, the retail industry affects the lives and livelihoods of millions and is an industry to study. Even before COVID, there was a sense that the future of retail would almost resemble a sci-fi movie, with shopping from anywhere at any time, on various devices, stores transforming into showrooms or fulfillment centers, and products being shipped for home delivery at light speed. The future, however, showed up early – and unexpectedly – with the onset of COVID-19 and the shutdown of retail locations worldwide, forcing consumers to change their buying behaviors. Many of the anticipated trends saw dramatic acceleration.
In the long-drawn-out aftermath of the pandemic and ongoing concern, the retail landscape remains uncertain. It’s clear, however, that there are certain universal directives that will strongly support retailers in their quest to remain competitive and relevant. Let’s look at some recent research findings from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA):
- The omnichannel approach is king. 2/3 of survey respondents acknowledged that digital sales are the industry’s most significant trend, however, 65% of retailers are still making business decisions based on brick-and-mortar performance.
- Let’s get personal. A whopping 76% of consumers switched stores, brands, or channels in 2020. 100% of retailers stated that omnichannel personalization is a top 5 priority, but only 15% have fully implemented it across their channels. That’s a huge disconnect.
- Delivery needs to “lay rubber”. 90% of consumers expect 2- to 3-day delivery to be the minimum acceptable, and 30% expect same-day. 75% of supply chain retailers have made 2-day delivery a priority, and 42% aim for same-day delivery by 2022.
- Stand up and be counted. It’s a new day, and 1/3 of survey respondents stopped using a brand based on its social actions, while 71% indicated they would abandon a brand forever if they determine that it places profits over people.
- HR talent remains a poorly utilized resource. 70% of respondents plan to rely more on flexible labor over the next 3 years and increase workforce diversity. Non-traditional labor will be the next big thing.
Productivity can be transformed. E-commerce is predicted to exceed 20% of sales, however, fulfillment networks can currently only handle half that volume. The automation (or outsourcing) of repetitive tasks can effectively free up 20-30% of workforce time.
While very few retailers will be able to address each and every mandate, progress can be accelerated with targeted investments and strategic approaches to facing the future. One such initiative is the utilization of BPO outsourcing companies to administer both front-end and back-end activities. Your business – whether belonging to the retail sector or another industry – needs to be on its toes to ride the new normal wave. Grappling with the enormous challenges imposed on the business world will necessitate that companies remain agile, flexible and intuitive. Partnering with an established BPO company like Anexa can help you identify the activities you can successfully outsource, leaving you to the business of doing business. With 20 years of experience in the outsourcing field, we manage a pool of highly trained, bilingual (Spanish and English) agents. These talented professionals bring experience and expertise to a wide range of business areas like marketing, sales, promotion, technical support and customer service.
Want to learn more? We’re Anexa BPO – reach out today.