Darin Goehner, right, and Frank Kaufman, partners at Moss Adams, led the annual retail outlook panel, which this year covered “2021 Trends in the Retail Industry.” | Photo courtesy of Moss Adams
As of Tuesday, March 23, 2021
After a harsh year navigating COVID-19, retailers will be greeted by a robust economy in the third and fourth quarters of 2021, said Frank Kaufman, national practice leader in retail for the accounting and consulting firm Moss Adams.
But the upcoming boom will be met by a business world and a consumer changed by the pandemic. An accounting of the vast changes retail has encountered and what retailers need to do to make the most of the upcoming boom were discussed in an hourlong virtual panel, “2021 Trends in the Retail Industry,” Moss Adams’ annual retail outlook, which was produced on March 8.
Kaufman and his colleagues Darin Goehner and Francis Tam discussed changes in the past year, such as the giant leaps forward that retailers took in adapting to digital commerce. There was a 15 to 30 percent increase in digital shopping within every category. In 2020, consumers spent $861.12 billion on digital markets in the U.S., which was up 44 percent from the previous year. However, omni-channel retail, which includes bricks-and-mortar, was crucial as 46 percent of consumers who made a purchase started the shopping journey in a physical store.
The panelists recommended that retailers continue to develop technology-enabled capabilities such as digital supply chains and finessing last-mile logistics to deliver goods to consumers’ homes. They called last-mile fulfillment the most-challenging and costly component of omni-channel order management, with this segment making up 53 percent of the total costs of shipping.
To prepare for what the Moss Adams speakers called “the next normal,” they recommended retailers go back to basics and focus on what they do well while also fielding new consumer demands to be more socially and environmentally aware. Also recommended was being more transparent on relations with employees and consumers. Consumers will support companies devoted to transparency as well as those that are dedicated to being good corporate and environmental citizens.