December 22, 2021
7 min read

4 Trends Accelerated During the Pandemic That Are Here to Stay in 2022

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We're not the first to tell you that March 2020 was a pivotal month. It was a catalyst for changes in consumer behavior and technology adoption across retail's many verticals. But what isn't so clear is which consumer behaviors from the past two years have turned into long-term habits – and which technologies retailers now require in order to meet their needs.

1. Click and Collect

At the onset of the pandemic, ensuring shoppers could receive products safely was at the forefront of everyone's mind. Click-and-collect services like curbside pickup and BOPIS began to gain popularity as these technologies served as a way for shoppers to visit stores without having to be inside them for long periods of time. In fact, U.S. shoppers spent more than $72 billion via click and collect in 2020, a 106.9% growth rate over 2019.

The rise of BOPIS further accelerated the need for omnichannel and fulfillment solutions, as shoppers began their journey online and ended it at a physical store. For retailers that didn't have advanced fulfillment options, click and collect served as a flexible, standalone solution – requiring only a smartphone-enabled app and a QR code. What's more, retailers are able to add integrations and features over time, making management of the solution easier as a business grows and evolves.

2. Mobile order ahead 

The increased familiarity with mobile shopping has made it easier than ever for customers to order ahead. As mentioned above, services like BOPIS save customers valuable time, whether that's browsing aisles for items or having to wait in a long checkout line.

The option to order ahead on their phone also adds another level of convenience. Every vertical is adopting its own method of this offering, from quick-service restaurants and major brands like McDonald's to convenience stores. Providing multiple ordering outlets beyond the drive-thru helps brands serve guests as their expectations continue to shift.

What's more, adding features and capabilities on mobile helps strengthen and provide long-term loyalty and provides personalized shopping experiences.

3. BYOD and kiosks 

Similar to the ease mobile order ahead provides, 90% of consumers use unattended retail as much – or more – during the pandemic. The top reasons include speed, convenience and the ability to social distance. This includes use of an in-store kiosk, or the concept of BYOD – bring your own device – through which customers can shop on their phones.

Both are self-service options in which a shopper doesn't have to interact with an associate face to face. This reduces length of lines while still providing an engaging and personalized experience. As a result, in-store associates can focus their time and effort on more critical tasks.

4. Contactless payments 

As mobile usage has increased, the desire for contactless payments has also grown. It has become increasingly popular in retail environments in which people don't want to wait in line and want to reduce physical touchpoints. In 2020, more than half of Americans used contactless payments, a number that's likely increased as the process has become more familiar to shoppers.

When implementing contactless payments, retailers must ensure they have a flexible, configurable solution that allows for secure payment processing. What's more, it needs to be able to handle new forms of payments – including digital currency.

Continued innovation to meet demand  

During 2021, a number of major partnerships and announcements occurred in the industry, helping to stay competitive – including Rite Aid partnering with Uber Eats, Amazon implementing buy now, pay later, and grocers like Kroger implementing ghost kitchens as a way to offer customers fresh, prepared meals.

2022 will surely bring its unique sets of opportunities and challenges for retailers. But with the right roster of technology, retailers can be better prepared to innovate and meet consumers' new demands. Are you prepared?