The shift from physical retail to digital channels and marketplaces was already evident before COVID emerged, but the pandemic has switched this trend into its highest gear so far.
Throughout lockdowns – which were enacted in almost every major consumption market in the world – brick and mortar stores were unable to trade, and as of the fourth quarter of 2020, footfall and in-person spending are both well below pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, sales through eCommerce storefronts, digital marketplaces, and social commerce channels have spiked. While the rise in eCommerce sales has not always counter-balanced the shortfall in physical sales, for some multi-channel companies it has, and it’s become clear over the first three quarters of the year that digital channels are the next key battleground for retailers.
The suddenness of that shift, though, is posing some serious problems for brands and retailers of all shapes and sizes. From rerouting inventory to figuring out to recreate the physical shopping experience online – carrying through the results of a digital product creation workflow, or offering configurable products – the new dominance of online channels is going to demand that any direct-to-consumer business model becomes fully digital.
Join The Interline in November 2020 as we chart the tectonic changes that have transformed the weighting of multi-channel retail strategy, and dive into the technologies that are reinventing the eCommerce shopping experience.