Recent events and technology advancements have caused or, at the very least, jumpstarted several retail industry trends that will likely continue into the foreseeable future. Retail businesses looking for ways to secure their short and long-term success within an industry can begin by understanding those trends.

Motivations from global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are creating new demands amongst consumers. Retailers will need to prioritise these to stay competitive. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to consider how the five retail industry trends outlined below will impact your business – and the actions you can take to address them.

retail industry trends

1. Unique and Photo-Worthy Experiences Will Define Brick and Mortar Success

Government regulation due to health and safety concerns surrounding the pandemic forced many retailers to cease or otherwise limit their brick-and-mortar operations. Restaurants had to pivot their menus for takeout, set up ghost kitchens, and partner with third party ordering and delivery systems. Other retail stores finally had to commit to e-commerce to maintain sales during the pandemic.

These trends don’t necessarily signal the end of brick and mortar. Rather, they highlight the need for retailers to have a strategy in place for how their physical storefronts will complement their e-commerce and overall customer experience. In other words, brands need to focus on the in-person experiences of their product or service that only a physical store can provide.

retail industry trends

2. A Retail Industry Driven by Data

Technology has given retail businesses access to incredible amounts of data about their customer base and market. Website traffic, customer portals and social media are all channels that supply you with information that can help you identify strengths and new opportunities for success. Hiring analysts and finding skilled management to help interpret retail data will prove valuable for businesses in their efforts for increased efficiency and other cost savings.

Some important metrics that you can glean from social media and internet data include:

  • Increased knowledge of customer demographics that can inform more specified demands (for example, by region, time, date and so on).
  • Find leads on other communities that could benefit from your product.
  • Assess the effectiveness of promotions and other marketing campaigns based on conversion rates.
  • Improved supply-chain and inventory management.
retail industry trends

3. Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Retail Shopping Habits

Awareness of social movements because of climate change and other current events will also be important for retailers to keep a pulse on their customers. Particularly, consumers have greater interest in brands that deliver sustainable products in environmentally friendly methods.

According to data from a Mastercard commissioned survey, 76% of South Africans found it important for brands and businesses to do more for the environment. An overwhelming 98% from the same study stated a willingness to take personal action on sustainability issues.

As a retail business, you will need to evaluate your product and the various systems you use to manufacture and distribute it for sustainable improvements. Showcasing the eco-friendly nature of your business will go a long way towards building positive sentiment with your customers.

All businesses will feel the effects of growing customer concern for the environment when shopping. Retailers can profit from products that are reusable or sourced from recycled materials. For restaurants, customers will want information about the sourcing of their ingredients and the practices of those sources. Even banks will be at the focus of this movement as customers will want information about the commercial entities with whom they lend, invest or otherwise transact.

To protect staff and customers when handling cash, businesses can invest in sanitisation products like Deposita’s Banknote Disinfectant Cabinet.

4. Sanitisation of Cash, Notes and Other Business Documents for Health and Safety

The COVID-19 pandemic brought increased attention to the retail industry’s health and safety protocols for mitigating the risk of virus spread. Some countries have even gone so far as to mandate the disinfection of notes. For businesses in cash dominant countries, finding ways to sanitise and disinfect money is a real concern. Data from the South African Reserve Bank showed cash circulation grew 8.23% from March 2020 to March 2021 with 50% of transactions occurring with notes and coins.

To protect staff and customers when handling cash, businesses can invest in sanitisation products like Deposita’s Banknote Disinfection Cabinet. The cabinet is effective at removing up to 99.99% of viruses and bacteria (e.g., COVID-19, E. coli, etc.) from your bank notes and other documents. It features a stainless steel housing for a sturdy and secure construction

Using an intense UV lamp, the cabinet provides 360 degrees of detoxification of notes and documents in about 60 minutes. Simply place cash or other items in the sterilising layer and power on the cabinet to start the sanitising process. Then wait 60 minutes after the cabinet’s disinfection timer signals the process is complete to remove items.

self-service in retail

5. Using Automation for Reduced Cost and Customer Convenience

Closely aligned with safety amidst a pandemic is the retail industry trend for automating certain business experiences that previously relied on additional employees. Your business should research and evaluate current equipment with advanced technology that can improve business experiences for greater retail shopper safety and convenience. Reduction in overhead expenses in the long-term is another likely benefit from investments in automated services.

For retail shops, easy sources for implementing automation lie in the use of self-service kiosks and payment systems like Deposita’s Accelerator Pay Cash. By implementing Deposita’s self-service recycling solutions, you can improve your business’s efficiency and reduce staff costs.

Work with the Cash Management Experts at Deposita

The trends of 2021 are likely signals of more permanent strongholds for society’s future expectations of retail trade. By embracing these trends early, you can set yourself apart from competitors and create loyal customers.

We firmly believe our cash management solutions can be a valuable tool for leading your retail, wholesale or banking business through the 2020s and beyond. The members of our team understand the importance cash management has on helping a company’s staff and bottom line. That’s why our philosophy rests on the three principles of unity, integrity and compassion.

You can book a free consultation with Deposita to see how our Banknote Disinfection Cabinet and other products can keep your retail business on top of current trends.

Keep up to date

fading red line


Memberships and accreditations