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How the Past 6 Months Have Changed the Future of Retail for the Better

The last 6 months have devastated millions. Still, the retail industry stands strong. The impact of 2020’s COVID-19 leaves the future of retail looking brighter than ever, growing to a $3.9 trillion value

It’s disorienting to see stores closing for now and for good, but online shopping is changing the future of retail jobs for everyone. While some predict 75,000 stores to close by 2026, others say 5 stores open for each one closing.

The truth is that retail is adapting, not ending. COVID-19 expedited everything, but it’s changing what would have eventually happened.

Read on to learn why the future of retail stores may be brighter than ever.

The Future of Retail

To understand how retail is changing, let’s debunk one thing. Retail is not a battle between online and in-person shopping.

Sales are sales. No matter where the money is spent, it’s all retail.

It’s no surprise that this year businesses turned to digital for sales. 2020’s acquired 7.4 million online shoppers. The question remains if this is the new way or temporary.

There’s no doubt that technology will change retail shopping—that was true before COVID-19. COVID-19 has made the transition to digital feel less in our control, but there are bright sides.

The Bright Side of Retail

The future of retail has proven to be more diverse, flexible, and creative than ever before. People are seeing the resilience of retail on a global level.

The truth is that we all need each other. Having shopping centers open provides an organic, connected, and personal shopping experience. That may feel old-fashioned to some, but everything has a time and place. 

Shopping centers are abundant in their offerings. They are hubs for food, shopping, and entertainment.

Window shopping is fun so long as stores are open. People want the option to spend time inside or walk by. People can’t window shop a closed store.

Though things have slowed in person and sped up online, there’s still the option to choose which experience is best for you these days. 

Consumers Perspective

Consumers have never been more mindful or conscientious about their money. Where and who they give to are positive impacts of COVID-19. Budgeting means mindful purchasing. 

Mindful purchasing has the following impacts:

  • Connecting with the stores you buy from
  • Feeling good about your buys
  • Increased loyalty
  • Decreased impulse buys
  • Understanding the value of a dollar
  • Seeing the impact of your support on others
  • Heightened community engagement
  • Supporting local
  • Slowing down
  • Reprioritizing

COVID-19 has prompted a reset for consumers to identify what’s essential and non-essential. Now, self-care buys and indulgences really feel special—as they’re meant to feel.

Businesses Perspective

Merchants have been the most challenged to adapt their business models. They’ve had to enforce new hygiene policies, employee standards, and e-commerce platforms. 

Small businesses are hurting since they thrive on community connections. Still, positive things have come from this, like:

  • Adopting creative virtual marketing and advertising methods
  • Heightened appreciation for supporters
  • Bold business moves, like buying a brick and mortar
  • Moving from in-person to online shopping
  • Collective kindness

There’s immense real estate turnover for businesses right now. That said, the market is good and store owners may find they have less in-person competition.

The future of retail isn’t about in-person or online shopping, but managing both. Gone are the days where business relied on word-of-mouth. COVID-19 has made it clear that it’s important for businesses to adapt to both online and in-person store models.

Employee Perspective

New systems and policies make for massive changes. Still, good things are happening for retail workers.

  • New hygienic practices and policies
  • Reliance on each other 
  • Spacious stores
  • Limited crowds 
  • Prioritization of health and safety
  • Heightened respect for one another, including consumers
  • Greater appreciation for job opportunities

Everyone’s retail shopping experience is being reset. Whole systems are deconstructing to reconstruct. Reassessment allows for things to come back stronger and better than before.

How Shopping Connects the World

Part of the reassessment of our retail experiences includes more of us getting a wider perspective on retail. It’s easy to shop without considering how products get to your fingertips. COVID-19 has illuminated how supply and demand works on an international level.

The slowed distribution allows for more economic education and human connection. More than ever, people are wondering: Where do products come from? Retail bridges consumers worldwide in the same way COVID-19 has.

Innovation is high and people are working around the clock to provide for themselves and their families. More time at home has been a gift for the 582 million entrepreneurs of the world. 

It’s true small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and that’s been threatened. Still, COVID-19 has revved up the entrepreneurial spirit in everyone.

Retail on the Rise

Being in uncharted waters means anything is possible. Aligning with a positive focus propels economic recovery.

62% of adults anticipate an increase in earnings this year regardless of circumstance. Business-people are no strangers to adversity, challenge, and discomfort. COVID-19 is a big hurdle—but just another one in the grand scheme of things.

Everyone plays a part in the collective recovery and it helps to know what your dollar does these days. It may feel good to stroll down your local shopping center. See that people are still there and waiting for your return.

Call us today for any questions you have about your local retail. The community awaits you.