Modern Retail

2021 Outlook From Scurri

2021 outlook

2021 is a new year, and the landscape of retail will yet again change from that of previous years. There is an expectation that online shopping will continue to be a growing trend this year, especially with concerns over coronavirus. As well as this, Brexit has already changed the way retailers in the UK and EU interact with each other, and complete sales. On top of what retail in 2021 looks like, we also hope that our own landscape here at Scurri might change a bit as well.

Covid has changed the world, and as a result consumers have changed. In 2020, retailers had to turn to virtual experiences to keep shoppers engaged while they continued to increasingly seek personal and unique experiences. 

The brands that are innovating and developing technology that facilitate new types of online purchasing will be the ones ahead of the game in 2021. Embracing this technology that facilitates new types of shopping including virtual wardrobing will open new perspectives for customer loyalty. Another megatrend we expect to continue to see in 2021 is the huge push to support our local economies. Consumers see a real value in establishing relationships with local brands. 

Shift to online shopping

Over the last several years, there has been a monumental shift towards online shopping, especially during the holiday season. Covid-19 exacerbated the level at which online shopping occurred over the last year due to social distancing and concerns about in-person shopping, but it seems that this trend is here to stay. Here at Scurri, we are currently processing more than double the number of deliveries that we were at this same time last year.

Retailers in 2021 should be prepared for a large number of, if not the majority of all orders to be online as opposed to in-store, and to make sure they have the logistic capabilities and networks set up in advance to be able to handle orders at this volume throughout the year. This means ensuring that everything from the company website to the multi carrier network used is running seamlessly; slow or late deliveries could be the difference between a repeat customer or one who never uses your service again.

What does a vaccine mean for retail?

Even with the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine, it is very likely that people will continue to be hesitant about returning to the in-store shopping experience. There will still be concerns surrounding the handling of cash and items by customers and staff members alike, that many people just aren’t willing to take the risk to involve themselves with.

With this being said, there will be a population of people who are looking very forward to being able to get back to the in-store shopping experience. Retailers need to prepare for this by curating the shopping experience for people by making it extraordinary and personal, as the in-store shoppers will be a big part of survival for many businesses moving forward. People will be craving a personalised experience that makes them feel both needed and unique when returning to shopping in-store.

The impact of Brexit on retail in 2021

Another issue retailers will be facing in 2021 are the new regulations and requirements surrounding importing and exporting with the UK after it leaves the EU customs union and single market. The ability to pivot will be essential for retailers as they not only face a high surge of online orders around the holiday season, but also the new eCommerce regulations the UK will be under in 2021.

Retailers in the UK that will be exporting to the EU starting in January 2021 will now have to make customs declarations for the first time. Although the retailer can do this themselves, this is usually handled by the carriers. Licences and certifications will now be needed to export specific products including but not limited to animal, plants, food and agricultural products. Businesses in the EU will now also be required to hold licenses and certifications to import specific products from the UK, so it’s important to check that any businesses in the EU you may be dealing with have these ready.

Shift in consumer attitudes

Buying British won’t just be a trend we see over the holiday season, but we believe this trend is here to stay. The pandemic has introduced a sense of national pride, with 59% of consumers in the UK seeking out British brands to support both the economy and local businesses. Coupled with added steps to shop and buy within the EU from the UK starting in January means that we expect to see UK consumers building relationships with local British brands more than ever before.

In 2021, we can expect the term “Inclusive Capitalism” to pop up alot in retail. Due to a shift in consumer attitudes, we have seen a shift away from bricks and mortar stores and more emphasis being placed on value-led experiences and social interactions. Retailers are now responding to the conscious consumer more than ever. With many retailers now offering the reselling of items online, we also expect thrift shopping to be more fashionable than it already is.

Plans for Scurri

With the great growth of online shopping over the last year, Scurri has also grown alongside that to be able to keep up with the demand.We expect to continue to grow this year, especially due to the new Brexit regulations as we continue to help retailers meet shipping needs and delivery times.

We had an exceptional year in 2020 despite the challenges of having to work remotely and in dealing with exponential growth. We have spent years building a really solid platform that would enable us to scale but we certainly didn’t expect to be where we’re at now so quickly. There was one day during the pandemic where we were coping with 100,000 transactions per minute, which is something we had never seen the likes of before.

Scurri recorded a 100% rise in turnover growth last year, jumping up to 180% in peak periods. Due to this exponentially fast growth, we will definitely be fundraising again in the near future, hopefully in 2021.

Retail as we know it in the traditional sense is rapidly changing to an online process, and we can predict that it will continue to grow at exponential rates not just this year, but for many years to come. The shift towards card usage as opposed to cash is also here to stay. Not only is a card required for online shopping, but with locations across the globe going cashless, we also have come to realise with the pandemic that many people don’t want to carry cash after it has changed hands so many times. While retailers importing and exporting with the UK will be faced with challenges early in 2021, this should become a seamless process as the year goes on and more exchanges are made by retailers between the UK and EU. 2021 will be the biggest year for online shopping yet, and retailers must pivot to be able to meet these demands if they hope to survive.

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Rory O'Connor

Rory O' Connor, is the founder and CEO of Scurri. Since launch Rory has focused on building and leading an impressive team of highly experienced technologists and advisors. Rory has won significant investment for the software business, raising over €7 million investment from private individuals, business angel investors and Enterprise Ireland.

Prior to founding Scurri in 2010, he worked in various roles in Waterford Wedgwood, in sales, marketing and strategic project roles including being part of the team that delivered a €10m SAP implementation.

Rory subsequently worked as a change management consultant with clients such as Heineken, Intel, Ogilvy and Siemens and as a project manager with AOL broadband. Rory has a number of business qualification including holding an MBA from Henley Management College.