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How Retail Stores are Preparing for the Future

Square released a new report that reveals how retailers are taking control of the future by delivering on customers’ evolving expectations — with an intentional focus on technology, operating efficiency, and customer experiences. Square developed the Future of Retail reports to provide a snapshot of what businesses are investing in and what’s working.

To uncover these insights, Square collaborated with Wakefield Research to survey retailers, and consumers across the U.S. Additionally, Square spoke to businesses and industry experts to share how retailers are facing challenges, embracing innovative solutions, and forging new paths forward in 2021.

"Scrappiness is in our sellers' DNA and, in 2021, we’re expecting more of the same. It will be more important than ever to find creative ways to meet consumers where they are most comfortable, providing memorable experiences in-store, online, curbside, and everywhere in between,” said Alyssa Henry, Seller Lead at Square.

Overwhelmingly, the report found that retailers alike are undertaking big changes to existing strategies and adopting new technologies to stay ahead of the curve. For example, we saw retailers increasingly turning to online and social selling to continue serving their customers - in fact:

  • 88% of retailers are now selling online
  • For retailers with one location that sells online, 66% of their revenue comes from online sales
  • 84% of retailers who sell online either already sell on social media or plan to this year
  • Among retailers selling on social media, 40% of their online revenue comes from social selling
  • Online shoppers bought an average of eight products from social media sites directly in the past month, at the time of this survey
  • 74% of retailers plan on using real-time inventory technology this year
  • 72% of consumers prefer delivery over pickup, but only 37% of retailers plan to offer same-day delivery.

"Retail has changed rapidly over the last year,” said Square’s head of eCommerce, David Rusenko. “But the transformation is giving retailers a chance to slow down and invest in doing things smarter across both in-store and online channels. The changes aren't a way to simply make it through - they're permanent and redefining what a meaningful retail experience can look like."

Despite a hard year, the future is full of opportunities for retailers. For a full analysis of the top retail trends of 2021, industry insights from Square experts, and real-life examples from innovative Square sellers, you can access the report here