2021 STORE EXPERIENCE STUDY
By Lee Holman & Tim Denman
Last year started out with massive news stories that ordinarily would have remained in the public’s consciousness for weeks or even months. But when COVID hit, they all rapidly faded from public conversation and left one event to rule them all. The virus impacted every aspect of American life and business and threw the retail industry into a state of upheaval.
Prior to COVID, U.S. retail sales were up, store counts were up, employment was up, IT spend was up, and the experts were projecting sales growth of around 4.0% for the year.
Overall Store Remodels Growth in 2021
Overall Store Count Growth in 2021
Respondents Hold VP Titles or Higher
Store IT spend Is Expected to Increase in 2021
Enterprise IT Spend Is Expected to Increase in 2021
Named Personalizing the Customer Experience a Top 2021 Priority
Anticipate a Store Owned mPOS Upgrade in the Next Two Years
Will Invest in SD-WAN by 2023
Then COVID hit, and nothing in retail was the same. Runs on toilet paper, disinfecting wipes and frozen pizza, among others, reduced the domestic supply chain stock to zero in less than a few weeks. Manufacturing plants were forced to shutter their doors for weeks or months. Stores and malls closed, and retailers began laying off millions of workers.
Despite this unprecedented disruption, some of the key trends in retail continued, including the focus on improving the in-store customer experience. Some trends saw drastic acceleration, such as the continued rise in the use of non-traditional fulfillment channels (think BOPIS, click & collect, ship-from-store and dark stores). A major exclamation point was attached to the recognition that a physical store presence is still a necessary and vital part of the retail landscape.
This study represents the 18th year of collaboration between RIS News and IHL Group. It is the retail industry’s definitive study, examining the trends for the coming year in the area of technological advances that impact retail operations, growth plans, budgets and planned technology purchases for 2021 and beyond.
are more important than ever before, with or without COVID.
Read on to discover the current state of retail IT and how the industry plans to leverage its technological prowess to not only survive, but thrive in the years to come.