Gartner: Top trends in retail for 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is driving world wide suppliers to essentially reassess how they do business. Owing in component to its lots of troubles and threats, 2020 has accelerated electronic transformation across the retail industry.

According to Gartner’s 2021 CIO survey, almost two-thirds of retail CIOs said their associations with their CEOs strengthened in 2020, as CIOs have assisted tutorial their corporations as a result of significant disruption.

To precisely recommend the business on know-how investments, Gartner has determined seven critical traits that retail CIOs must recognize and comprehend. Highlighted in this article are 3 of the seven traits building most significant impacts for retail CIOs in 2021.

Development one: touchless interactions

“Touchless” experiences are “safe,” actual physical-call-free interactions across the customer’s overall buying system. As authorities social distancing and cleanliness specifications continue on across quite a few marketplaces, prospects are expecting suppliers to present safe, touchless buying experiences. Clients need to be delivered with numerous means to research, obtain and take in merchandise, in convenient, call-free interactions in a hygienic actual physical ecosystem.

Touchless interactions across important consumer procedures include the subsequent 4 phases:

  • Search: Permits prospects to come across what they want or discover new products, as a result of online channels and IoT enabled gadgets, AI and augmented fact (AR) to provide an immersive buying encounter.
  • Transact: Permits a seamless functionality for prospects to transact within just and across channels, irrespective of the product or the mixture of products and providers, without the need of inconvenience or delays.
  • Acquire: Permits prospects to acquire merchandise and providers through a selection of procedures, such as actual physical buying, click on and collect, in-household shipping and delivery, automated replenishment, lockers, and partnerships with external businesses.
  • Consume: Permits customers’ satisfaction and enhances their consumption encounter. Provided as a result of improved details and providers, linked gadgets and auto-replenishment.


  • Choose a intricate cross-channel system, this sort of as BOPIS (get online, pickup in keep) and recognize all its important touchpoints that warrant a touchless encounter.
  • Use the digitalization possibility to redesign or make adjustments in the system to make certain that the channels are working in live performance to provide a seamless consumer encounter.

Development 2: fulfilment execution

Fulfilment execution enables excellence in fulfilment operations across the retailer’s actual physical and electronic property as a result of genuine-time investigation and reconfiguration of stock, labor and procedures. This in transform success in optimization of stock, enablement of unified commerce experiences and greater consumer satisfaction, as perfectly as improved profitability for the business.

As e-commerce has witnessed significant boosts around the past year, excellence in fulfilment execution has become a major precedence for suppliers, with purchaser desire for unified commerce experiences increasing. As a result, suppliers can count on long lasting put up-pandemic desire for increased online obtaining with timely acquisition.

According to Gartner’s Ultimate Mile survey, 18% of businesses at the moment report fulfilment accuracy costs of ninety five% or greater. As buying limitations continue on, prospects want and want to be in a position to research, transact, acquire and take in products and providers safely and securely and effortlessly across a retailer’s overall ecosystem. This signifies that suppliers want strong keep groups and sturdy know-how in position to build a fluid encounter for prospects though at the same time taking care of expenditures.


  • Determine all the knowledge specifications to help finish-to-finish intricate cross-channel procedures this sort of as BOPIS, BOPAC (get online for curbside pickup) and BORIS (get online return in keep). This will make it possible to consider the ecosystem of built-in methods necessary to speedily help greater online desire.
  • Improve management of on-hand stock, prevent useless stock and lower squander by leveraging IoT technologies this sort of as RFID and clever shelving.
  • Improve consumer buy fulfilment by strengthening genuine-time stock visibility and applying or strengthening distributed buy management.

Development 3: algorithmic merchandising optimization

Algorithmic merchandising optimization enables suppliers to much more exactly establish objects that want to be shown and stocked. It also can help how objects need to be priced and promoted, to increase revenue, margin, stock and consumer satisfaction across touchpoints.

Optimization products use consumer behavior insights and predictive analytics to consider the relative functionality of objects across touchpoints and consumer segments, aiding merchandisers to make much more clever choices.

As operational expenditures are pushed up in reaction to shifting consumer expectations, a renewed aim is getting placed on merchandise assortment and pricing accuracy. Merchants can no longer afford to spread stock across all keep places. As a result, suppliers must leverage algorithmic techniques to maximize precision when organizing assortments, pricing and promotions, and the resulting stock investments across all touchpoints. Just about every present assumption and method must be analyzed towards purchaser behavior traits.


  • Undertake root bring about investigation with merchandising business leaders to recognize functionality gaps and consider alternatives from useless stock, stock-outs and excessive markdowns.
  • Build an being familiar with of how to leverage close to-genuine-time varied datasets, blended with AI-led techniques, to build consumer-centric assortments that are aligned with specific consumer behavior segments across touchpoints.
  • Kelsie Marian, Senior Director Analyst with Gartner’s CIO Investigation Team.