The recovery is still in motion. A few obstacles but more opportunities.
Specialty retailers have made great strides in the past two years, overcoming incredible obstacles and capitalizing on new markets. This resiliency is key to remaining competitive in the coming years, especially in 2022, when the supply chain returns to pre-pandemic efficiency and consumers return to the stores.
Specialty Retail – Resources
What makes the upcoming year so unique is resources—identifying them and how you can maximize their potential. From human capital to virtual showrooms, these are no longer ancillary pieces to the overall puzzle of what makes a great store. Your resources are about to become the foundation of your brand identity for years to come.
5 Trends for Specialty Retailers
While the world’s economy has seen a gradual re-opening, the last year has seen strong retail sales across all sectors. Consumers are spending more on specialty items, typically using the savings reserved for travel and other experiences. So, in this strong recovery, let’s look at the five (5) important trends specialty retailers should pay close attention to in the coming year.
- Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery – Free shipping or delivery is difficult for many specialty retailers. Furniture stores or other large item retailers see this as a significant loss to their bottom line. The problem is that consumers expect it, all thanks to Amazon. When consumers don’t get what they expect, they shop elsewhere or go without. Retailers need to know that consumers are willing to pay more for an item with free shipping. They don’t mind it if the costs are built into the price. As a matter of fact, they expect it.
- Employee Retention –Many companies have responded to the labor shortage by offering higher wages and more perks. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as well as they had hoped because holiday staffing was down 7.5% from 2020. It’s time to rethink your relationship with your employees. Retail workers want more health protections and better compensation when placing their health and well-being at risk. They need to trust their employers.
- Self-Checkout – One of the most prominent examples of in-store redesign is self-checkout. This should be seen as an opportunity for furniture and other large item retailers, not an obstacle. Complicated transactions are becoming easier for people to process on their own without the help of a salesperson. Plus, point of sales systems have more functionality than ever before. These are a couple of reasons why consumers are choosing self-checkout more often.
- Tech for Seniors – The pandemic made it nearly impossible for grandparents to see their grandchild. If it wasn’t for video chat services, such as Zoom, FaceTime, and Hangouts, they couldn’t see their families for lengthier stretches than ever before. More than 70% rely on technology to keep in touch with their families. They have overcome the learning curve and are more comfortable with different platforms.
- The Push for Sustainability – Consumers are looking for more transparency from the brands they purchase. They want to know what the products are made of and where it was made. The primary driver for this is a belief that climate change is important to them. Manufacturers are turning to locally sourced materials and labor to cut down on fossil fuel consumption. They also bolster economies closer to home.
A lot has changed over the past two years. People are still working from home in greater numbers than ever before. Many restaurants and retailers have closed their doors, while others are expanding and looking for more ways to engage with their customers. Specialty retailers have become more resilient and should tap into their most essential resources to stay competitive.