Friday, May 14, 2021 12:00 PM
NEW YORK—Amid the disruption of COVID-19, and the resulting store closures, a few retail companies actually fared well. These retailers did succeed by adjusting their supply chain, managing their stocking and inventory processes, and revamping customer service, according to a recent analysis by eMarketer. The research firm cited these factors as some of the keys to success for big-box retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy.
“Others, such as Apple, lululemon athletica, Nike and Starbucks, are focusing on innovating and modifying store experiences through digital integration, frictionless shopping, and atmospherics modified for a ‘new normal’ of social distancing and sanitization,” eMarketer added.
In its report
, eMarketer predicted that sales for U.S. retail overall will begin to recover in 2021, climbing 3.8 percent year over year to $5.856 trillion. Following upon the outsized 33.6 percent increase in 2020, though, e-commerce sales will moderate to 13.7 percent growth this year. Brick-and-mortar retail sales will rebound from a 0.2 percent decline in 2020 to a 2.2 percent gain in 2021, according to eMarketer.
“The physical retail experience emerging in 2021 suggests that stores must still be able to adjust to rapidly changing conditions, and technology will be key to that flexibility,” the research firm noted. “For example, U.S. consumer interest in mobile payments and mobile app orders increased significantly from March to June 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, according to a survey from Periscope By McKinsey. In the June polling, consumers also expressed interest in the use of digital screens for store navigation (22 percent) and digital shelf labels (20 percent).”
Of relevance to retailers, there was a smaller, but nonetheless significant, portion interested in augmented reality (AR) for product try-on and product info (16 percent each), eMarketer noted.