Where is the future of retail?
In 2020, the retail world took a beating. Flipped, turned, opened, closed and opened again. Doors have been shut and not opened again, even with so many losing so much, there is still a glimmer of hope. So where do we go next in 2021? If there will be any winners to come out of this year, who are they and what are they doing right?
Last week we attended the Digital City Festival as we were shortlisted for the best ‘Tech For Good’ business 2020. While we were there, we found out from Deloitte what the next year has in store for us. Let’s see what they said.
Purpose, purpose, purpose
More than just turning a profit at the end of the year, business needs to have purpose. The Deloitte 2021 Report even goes on to state “we expected purpose to be as disruptive in the next ten years as digital has been in the last ten.” Businesses must ensure that they are being inclusive and forward thinking or risk being left behind.
Just earlier this year, Good Liverpool put out a call for purpose driven independents to join our retail revolution. The traction this gained was monumental, we were getting contacted left, right and centre from businesses throughout the city. It just shows...good things attract good people.
Digital comes first
With online retail sales jumping to unprecedented levels over the past year, is it time to forget about the physical store and go entirely digital?
The boom in small, independent, online businesses show us that it is perfectly feasible to be successful without a store. Looking at the past year alone, Good Liverpool has grown from just 4 retailers to over 40, with the majority not having a brick-and-mortar space. Shopify, WordPress and others have made it easier than ever to set up an online store. New technologies have made it possible to create truly immersive experiences, allowing us to recreate and even improve on any in-store experiences, all with the benefits and convenience of shopping from our living rooms. Online sales in 2021 are expected to reach $5 trillion, the time to have a solid digital approach is now, if it’s not been done already.
Make it an experience
Physical stores still have their role to play, but they need to be more than just a place to pick things off hangers and shelves. We can do our shopping online, so why do we need the exact same experience in the stores?
It needs to be an experience. Well-thought out, enjoyable and and, most importantly, engaging, complementing the core facets of the brand. Invite people into the brand, elevate what it brings to the table when it comes to customer experience.
When it comes to sustainability, Liverpool has already seen some amazing sustainable changes throughout the city over the past year. Electric scooters dotted around the city, sustainable delivery platforms delivering carbon-free packages, eco-friendly packaging and manufacturing processes being adopted by many of our city’s businesses.
Most of us have changed our shopping habits as well. Avoiding taking the car or bus into town, we’re shopping local, walking where we can and working from home. We’re understanding we all have a role to play, businesses included, and we’re beginning to demand that they make these changes. Thats why, at Good Liverpool, our retailers and us are constantly sharing fresh ideas and concepts, always looking for new ways to keep our manufacturing, delivery and working processes as sustainable as possible.
The bounce back of the local High Street
The ‘Shop Local’ drum has been mercilessly banged over the past year and with good reason. Good Liverpool was born out of this love for local and the need to support our city’s best indies when we went into the very first lockdown.
But now, as the high street bounces back and big brands are open again, can this continue? We have seen the positive impacts that have come from supporting local businesses. It has benefited the community around us, but equally, has bred a vastly higher number of local, independent businesses than we had this time last year. Meaning that now, we have a higher quantity and better quality of local independents to support.
Over the past year, the retail world has been turned on its head but out of this has come many positives to take forward. Across the country, we all did incredibly well to adapt to the changing circumstances. For many of us, it brought the ideals of sustainability, purpose and independent business to the fore...long may it continue.