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CauseBox Packaging, via CauseBox Facebook Page

THREE RETAIL TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2021

The way we shop has changed. Instagram is the new window shopping. Algorithms are the new advertising. Our smartphones are doubling as dressing rooms. The pandemic has inspired tech advancements like we’ve never seen before, and with each of these pivots come unique ways of engaging your customer. Research shows that 21 percent of customers will keep vendors in mind for two or more years after a great customer service experience, and packaging can play a big part in securing that loyalty.

Here are three of the biggest retail trends we’ve seen to date, along with unique ways to customize your packaging to enhance customer experience. 

Contactless Shopping 

Contactless shopping was already on the rise pre-pandemic, but now more than ever, brands are implementing contactless practices in their business model in order to meet consumer demand.

This trend is exactly what it sounds like: shopping, but without the need to actually touch… anything. It applies to any part of the customer journey, from shopping, to purchasing, to delivery. 

According to Google, consumer interest in the word “contactless” hit an all time high in May of 2020, and continues to be significant as we progress through this pandemic. 

 
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In fact, trends suggest that consumer behavior post-pandemic will see a rise in brand loyalties based on the ability to engage in more contactless shopping experiences

Clothing retailer Showfields launched an app called Magic Wand that allows customers to fully interact in-store, without physically touching anything. Instead, customers can use their smartphones to see product information, add items to a virtual cart and have them packaged up and left at in-store pick up points.

 
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Here are some packaging ideas that can help add value to the contactless shopping experience:

  • Free Gift Wrapping

  • Tamper Evident Shopping Bags

  • Personalized Hang Tags

  • Sequential Barcoding (printed directly on bags)

   

Subscription Services

Subscription Services such as CauseBox, Nuuly, and Rocksbox can apply to several business models, ranging from sustainable products, to clothing rentals, to jewelry. This business trend has become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is predicted to continue to rise.

   

According to Forbes, studies show that during the COVID-19 crisis, “many US consumers have leaned into subscription-based products—some for the first time.”

Out of 1000 interviewed shoppers, 20% purchased a subscription box to have products “on hand” during the pandemic. Retailers have taken note of this shift, and data predicts that by 2023, 75% of direct-to-consumer brands will have a subscription based offerings. 

Here are some ideas to spruce up your subscription services packaging:

  • Custom Shipping Box with Topper

  • Paper Apparel Bags

  • Laundry Bag

  • Gift with Purchase

   

Virtual Fittings

The virtual fitting room was created to emanate the physical in-store changing room experience, but virtually. Through augmented reality (AR), buyers can try on clothing, accessories, and more though overlaying the product over a mirror copy of the shopper. 

Photo Via Caddis Website

Photo Via Caddis Website

Caddis, an “eye appliances” brand specializing in readers and blue light glasses, is the perfect example of a brand that has adapted this technology wholeheartedly. Thanks to their partnership with Vertebrae Unveil 3D, customers are able to try on any pair of glasses virtually, without even having to click off their site. 

AR and VR technologies such as these have increased greatly in both popularity and demand due to industry changes brought on by COVID-19 and will only continue to do so as time progresses. According to Market Watch, the global market for virtual fitting rooms is projected to reach $10 billion by 2027. 

Tech companies are starting to hone in on other retail categories where fit matters, such as scuba suits, ski gear, hats and sunglasses.

Other retailers have relied on a combination of Zoom and shipping samples of the product as a means of providing a virtual fitting experience. Bridal designer Kelly Faetanini has found great success through her virtual fitting program. This program allows for the bride to browse gowns options online, decide through a 30-minute Zoom call with a bridal consultant what 2-5 dresses best align with her vision, and have her selections shipped to her home for a one-hour virtual fitting over Zoom. From here, she is matched with the dress of her dreams from the comfort of her home.

 
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The Virtual Fitting Process, Photos Via Kelly Faetanini Website

Since launching this program back in the fall, the Kelly Faetanini brand has seen great success. In an interview with bridal consultant Meg Smith, she shared that this program has not only made the dress search possible for brides-to-be during the pandemic, but has actually increased the brand’s overall sales as well. With this new initiative, they are not only COVID safe, but they are more accessible as a brand as well. 

Custom packaging ideas to augment your virtual fitting experience:

  • Resealable Poly Mailers

  • Garment Bags

  • Custom Shopping Bags or Totes (for in-store exchanges)

  • Custom Shipping Box

   

Creative Retail Packaging is invested in offering custom-packaging solutions for trends as they arise.

IF YOUR BRAND IS ADAPTING TO THESE INDUSTRY TRENDS AND NEEDS PACKAGING TO FOLLOW, WE’D LOVE TO HELP.