Digital transformation during COVID-19 has been one of the key factors in helping the retail industry stay productive during 2020. With all in-person stores having to close down for months as quarantine precautions were implemented worldwide, the growth of online shopping began to soar. By the end of this year, eCommerce sales alone are predicted to reach $4.2 trillion, meaning that if your business has not taken the time to sculpt out a digital footprint, now is really the time to do this.

The eCommerce industry continues to be on an upward trajectory and this article will focus on the new trends that are cropping up and being implemented that your online business should be looking to take advantage of as soon as possible.

Customer Experience & Retail’s Digital Transformation

COVID-19 has essentially created a separation between consumers and brands with the removal of in-person store experiences, as well as, taking away the personalised touch this approach once had. With consumers no longer able to create these in-person relationships with brands, retailers had to turn to digital approaches to fill this gap and encourage sales.

The response to this physical disconnection has also resulted in the increased implementation of digital platforms. eCommerce companies have been looking to recreate this intimate relationship and trustworthy feel through website functionality, creating augmented reality simulations, offering a personalised quiz, or just ensuring faster delivery services and response times. Companies are now sculpting the new wave of digital retail sales for the post pandemic world.

Role of Technology In Retail's Digital Transformation

The role of technology in retail’s digital transformation is the key factor in successfully giving customers an in-person experience while they shop from home. New technologies such as accurate 3D models of products, better website functionalities, and social media fluidity leading to an omnichannel experience, have also catered to improved customer experiences, creating improved convenience for consumers. As time goes on, more technology trends are sure to pop up and better transform the future of digital retail and the use of online shopping for customers.

Retail's Digital Transformation Trends

Whether it be on a retail company’s online store, app, social media platform, use of VR glasses, businesses should be focusing on ways to better transform their digital platforms for better customer use. Despite a heavy increase in internet use because of COVID, different technologies will continue to see more growth as time goes on.

While retail digital trends continue to develop, the industry will need to focus on several aspects of digital use without the help of in-person store shopping to succeed in increasing sales. Below is a list of several approaches that retail brands are currently taking on:

Augmented Reality: If you don’t know what augmented reality is, it's an experience created by the transfer of information to render digital images, audio, or visuals into a real-world environment. With consumers not wanting to leave the safety of their homes amidst the virus, AR allows customers to experience and shop from the luxury of their sofa. For example, Toyota has recently decided to use AR for potential customers to experience what it may be like to have that automobile. Without having to download an app, which usually turns consumers away, Toyota’s website creates a visual representation of their cars showing what the product may look like in the user’s driveway. As well as a site experience, the automobile company has teamed up with advertising company Saatchi Create to produce an immersive, interactive magazine showcasing Toyota’s cars. As consumers flip through its pages, they’ll hold onto a metal door sensor which will activate a new car leather scent, and allow customers to have the experience as if they were sitting in the car viewing all of the amenities.  

Now Vs. Later: New studies have shown that 88% of customers are willing to pay for same-day shipping and deliver. People want things instantly rather than having to wait for it later and are now willing to pay that price, despite the extra expense. It’s even been recorded that customers may choose against buying a product if the shipping takes a significant amount of time. Apps such as Instacart and Shipt have been rising in consumer use with its quick access to groceries with the convenience of being delivered right to a user’s front door, and the swiftness of the service. Amazon Prime has also started offering consumers the option to have same-day delivery as a new service.

Functional & Personal: Consumers want a functional, easy platform to shop on, as well as a highly personalised experience. For the most part, people want to gain information quickly so setting up your site with quick access to product information is a great way to service customers’ needs. Makeup company Glossier has been offering an online quiz to consumers to provide specifically tailored products for their skin type, as well as educating them on how the recommended products would exactly help. 

Social Shopping: Along with the help of artificial intelligence, one day consumers may be taking photos of others walking in the street for their phones to find the same exact clothing as the person pictured, to then purchase. Until then, retail's digital transformation trends have been taking initiative on highly-engaged platforms such as Instagram, with fashion company Le Semaine Paris allowing customers to shop via clicking on their account’s posts.  

Virtual Reality: Digital transformation during COVID-19 is predicted to combine digital services more than ever, allowing people to stay safe at home yet get as close to a real-life experience as possible. Some companies are starting to experiment with virtual reality, allowing customers to try on clothes without actually being in a store or having to change their outfits.

By discussing the different trends that are currently shaping and evolving because of the pandemic, it can help your own company better understand the benefits of digital transformation in retail. As 2020 continues, consumer behaviour is favouring online shopping more and more, meaning your business should prioritise adopting new digital trends to compete and strive against competitors, whether it be on your website, social media platforms, or any new tech way of providing products and services to consumers.


Following the path of brands such as how luxury responds to COVID-19, alongside digital focus, your own company should be adapting its message, helping communities out when possible, and preparing for future increases in consumer buying habits to keep stability amongst the chaos. The combination of a business restructure and upcoming digital trends including augmented and virtual reality, accelerated delivery, and personalised touches, all will give your businesses hope against the pandemic and its effects.



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