Reduction of friction in purchases, digitization at the point of sale, e-commerce, investment in advanced technologies for fraud prevention and adherence to new means of payment: the search for innovation has guided trends in Brazilian retail over the last year.

When we talk about retail trends, we need to start with the transformation in the sector due to the pandemic, which reflected in the growth of the online market and the change in consumer behavior.

This is because rethinking the format of the business and creating innovative alternatives to the challenges imposed by the crisis is essential to lead digital transformations in retail and the recovery of the economy, opening up new opportunities for consumer relations.

According to the latest edition of the survey “Digital Transformation in Brazilian Retail”, by the Brazilian Society of Retail and Consumer Affairs (SBVC), investment in digital transformation initiatives grew 87% among Brazilian retailers in the last year. And the results speak for themselves: 74% increased their sales revenue.

The 300 largest retail companies in the country were analyzed, which highlighted the main tools for digital transformation, including solutions in means of payment (94%) and data analysis in the online environment (77%).
In this article, I point out ten insights into the trends that should dominate post-pandemic retailing. The retail trends were raised from Conductor’s expertise, from the survey “Digital Transformation in Brazilian Retail” mentioned above and also based on the reports Retail Trends 2021, by Deloitte, and Post-NRF 2021, by BTR-Varese.

Get to know the 10 trends in Brazilian retail

1. Retail Digitization

According to data from the Monthly Trade Survey (PMC), carried out by the IBGE, the sales volume of retail trade in Brazil ended 2020 with an increase of 1.2%, and growth of 6% in nominal revenue.

Part of this growth was driven by the fact that, between April and September 2020, 11.5 million people made their first purchase online and, in the same period, around 150,000 new virtual stores appeared in the country – from small businesses to large physical networks that migrated to the web.

Digital transformation left theory behind and went into practice in companies from all segments of retail, even in those that were less digitized until then, such as construction materials and supermarkets.

2. Pix – new payment method

The arrival of Pix (the Central Bank’s Instant Payments System) is facilitating and making more accessible services such as transferring money between people, paying for purchases and bills, and even collecting taxes and fees.

For retail, this represents a major opportunity during and post-pandemic: business growth driven by customer acquisition and retention.

In the case of electronic retail, Pix’s great advantage will be the optimization of payment processes, through simplified mechanics and reduction in delivery times due to quick confirmation of transactions.

3. Data: analysis, management and customization

The storage, analysis and organized management of data continue to be the great technological differentials in the segment. Knowing how to explore the information contained allows the company to deepen its knowledge of the customer profile and invest in customizations in the consumer experience.
According to a study by Applause, a company that specializes in crowd testing and digital quality, 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that remember them and are able to offer relevant recommendations and offers.

Another study that looks at major retail trends, this one done by Google, shows that one in three people expects personalized product recommendations based on their shopping profile.

4. Frictionless retail

It is increasingly clear that customers are looking for convenience, personalization, agility, security and ease in their shopping experiences, whether during the choice of the desired product until checkout – in physical and virtual environments.

The new platforms need to identify the consumer in both the physical and virtual environment, analyzing their purchase history, habits and preferences, reducing friction as much as possible and minimizing disruption to sales.

5. New payment methods aimed at financial inclusion

With the increased demand for the use of online services and the heating of the market, the financial and retail sectors have gained a window of opportunity to offer new services – in addition to payment transactions – that facilitate the population’s access to other forms of financial transactions and credit.

The need for greater financial inclusion of the population is seen as one of the trends in retail as it allows for an even closer relationship between store and customer, not to mention the possibility of attracting a new audience.

6. “Customer at the center” and increased competitiveness

Among retail trends, this is nothing new, but it is possible to see that the intensification of competition has made and makes the retail market increasingly oriented towards the customer, rethinking the entire experience in favor of their needs and desires.

The new dynamic that is being established, based on new payment methods and more innovative ways of buying and selling in retail, while generating differentials, have the potential to further foster competition in the sector – which we are already witnessing with the growth in the opening of new digital businesses during the pandemic.

7. New sales models

The valuation of convenience by the user is reflected in the growth – both in launch volume and in consumer acceptance – of applications or new applications within existing products. Thus, businesses have the ability to expand remote customer service.

With a Service Marketplace, for example, a company can offer the convenience of contracting essential services or desired digital products within its own app, putting them in the customer’s palm.

8. Impact on physical stores

The growth of online commerce forced retailers to re-evaluate the role of their stores, prompting a reinvention of points of sale. In the post-pandemic, the physical shopping experience will need to add even more value to consumers.

What should happen is the consolidation of an increasingly hybrid model between the digital and the physical. According to the Post-NRF 2021 report, stores should assume the role of logistics and service hubs, serving as fulfillment platforms for digital sales.

9. Anti-fraud solutions to protect retail transactions

While the pandemic has accelerated digital trends, it is also, in some ways, responsible for the growth of fraud attempts in means of payment and online transactions.

The increase in data circulation, instant payments and digital transfers is commensurate with the security that retail companies must incorporate into their systems.

10. Cultural transformation of retail

The disruption of the sector will only happen fully when there is a change in thinking and behavior within companies, so that technological evolution is intrinsic, leaving the paper.
Companies that serve retail must develop solutions that are applicable to the national reality and that can be absorbed without friction and with agility, so that they become part of the culture of a given retail chain.

This movement helps organizations in the sector to lead developments in their operating models, fostering competition and contributing to market growth.

Retail needs to move faster than ever!

In addition to the challenging time for businesses around the world, Brazilian retailers have a window of opportunity to offer solutions that truly transform their customers’ lives.

New means of payment, access to credit, digital experiences and a reduction in purchasing friction are some of the examples that need to be on the agenda of the sector, which, without a doubt, will play the role of a catalyst for economic recovery in the coming years!