Trevor Sumner, CEO of Perch, a leader in interactive product engagement and marketing retail displays, knows the future success of retail in-store shopping requires integrating today’s digital technologies.

Those retailers who think about the holistic shopping experience will come out on top. Sumner offered up his take on the retail trends happening during the pandemic and the steps retailers need to take now to position themselves for a successful 2021.

The pandemic impacted retail in 2020, although sales are still up from 2019. But soft November sales, coupled with a weak Black Friday, point to a disappointing year’s end. Sumner indicated people are holding on to their savings, and, until the pandemic shows signs of weakening, consumers may not be as willing to spend.

And, while eCommerce spend saw a dramatic uptick in sales percentage, the numbers are misleading, because the global pandemic shutdowns caused the spike in online shopping behavior.

But shopping in a physical environment isn’t a thing of the past. As life begins to return to a more normal state in 2021, digital integration will be an ever-increasing necessity for retailers to offer shoppers an engaging experience.

“To me, digital is a platform,” Sumner said. “It’s a way of thinking, and it’s a way of solving problems. Retail is using digital to do a bunch of different things. If your inventories are low, you can offer endless aisle options and QR codes for online purchasing for people in store.”

Loyalty programs are also gaining popularity and provide the ability to give shoppers personalized offers and incentives to drive store traffic.

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