Let's share the vision of the future trends that may disrupt apparel and specialty retail after the crisis and the strategic imperatives that will allow them to thrive in the «next normal»



Last year’s context has upset the retail world. Between stores that closed their doors forever and stores that were on break, the recovery seems complicated for all those who will have to respond to the new expectations of customers and reinvent themselves. 

After the economic crisis Retailer are forced to prepare for the upcoming recovery to withstand the shock of this unprecedented crisis. 

As the post-COVID-19 future looks promising for many retails who will need to maximize their potential as they emerge from the crisis, retailers will need to consider the realities of the next challenges. In this article, we share a vision of the future trends that may disrupt apparel and specialty retail after the crisis and the strategic imperatives that will allow them to thrive in the «next normal» 

The crisis has not only profoundly changed consumers’ expectations, but new consumption patterns and trends are creating new distribution models. To remain relevant in this environment, retailers will have to focus on the customer experience and define specific objectives. 

The buying behavior of end customers has been greatly modified and most of the consumers seek to reduce their spending. For baby boomers and 38% of low-income workers, a return to normality is not an option in the next 18 months or until the threat is eliminated. 

This new behavior adds a new challenge for retailers who will have to double their efforts to attract customers and sell their products. This change could extend over time, which would leave room for distance commerce to take full advantage of the situation. E-commerce, which has already been on the rise for a few years, could therefore develop further, especially if physical stores do not reinvent themselves sufficiently. 

These trends are likely to have a significant impact on the profit and loss (P&L) of retailers in the retail industry, which could see their physical store sales cleeply affected. 


Omnichannel is a modern approach to retailing that focuses on developing a consistent user experience. Today, at a time when stores are losing traffic, omnichannel has become a «must have» for retail players. Each of the online and offline points of contact with the merchant must be enhanced to attract the highest number of consumers.

Retail customers are often referred to omniconsumers because they use successively and simultaneously, existing online channels and offline channels during their shopping journey. According to a study conducted by LSA/HiPay on the omnichannel path in retail, «72% of retailers surveyed believe that implementing an omnichannel strategy is a priority and 69% of consumers are ready to change retailer if it does not offer an omnichannel path «This study shows the importance of omnichannel, which will play a major role in the post-covid environment.

Several approaches can be considered in order for retailers to use omnichannel to get out of this crisis. The following is a list of different measures that can revive these retailers:

  • Redefine the store’s mission
    The customer experience is the most important aspect of this first point. Reinventing the customer experience will make customers want to rediscover physical stores as something other than basic locations. The customer needs the feeling of a personalized experience and will want to go back to the store. 
  • Personalized touchpoints
    Personalization both offline and online is one of the key elements to re-engage the customer. Customer interactions will then be modified accordingly so that each customer has a personalized experience. Customer data tracking can also be initiated online so that customers receive personalized attention from the moment they enter the store. 
  • Investing and training in omnichannel
    Investing in interaction equipment could be used by in-store teams to follow the buying process and interact with the customer from the first contact with the brand. Training in these tools will provide teams with all the means to interact with their customers in the right way 


Although the customer experience is the key to prepare for the post-covid era, it is not the only solution to implement in order to boost sales in stores, a new organization must be put in place within the stores. The costs must be updated so that the stores increase their productivity at a lower cost. 

Following the crisis, all budgets must be remodeled, starting with the staff who have suffered the crisis and where many people have been laid off. The management of stocks must be re-visited to facilitate the work in the store and the tasks of salesmen. The management of the store in general must be simplified to the maximum with the optimization of merchandising. 

Automating in-store tools is also critical to the smooth operation of stores. Retailers can save time and be more productive with these digital solutions. Customers are also eager to use self-service tools that can be available through an application. 

These trends are likely to have a significant impact on the profit and loss (P&L) of retailers in the retail industry, which could see their physical store sales significantly affected. 

The staff of the retail stores has suffered the consequences of the health crisis with many layoffs. However, as soon as the machine is back in operation, companies will have to train their future workforce and face many challenges. 

With mass layoffs, many staff will be on the job market. The objective of the retails is to recruit and retain the best performing salespeople in order to recover quickly from the crisis. 

The training of these teams will be one of the key elements in order to make most of the teams multi-skilled, especially so that they are able to use the new digital tools. This training can be used in case of problems related to the virus and the salespeople will be able to use the opinion of the online salespeople for example. 

Between store closures and the importance of e-commerce, brands will need to rethink their retailer arrangements. 

Omnichannel is likely to have a significant impact on the networks as the best performing stores on this topic will be favored by brands. Even after the post-covid period, omnichannel will become essential for companies that will be able to control the performance of their stores thanks to this omnichannel vision. 

Store management should no longer be based solely on store results but also on their relationship to online sales. 

The control of all these stores will be facilitated by the optimization of these networks and omnichannel could notably allow to have a general vision on all the stores and to manage them after the crisis. 


In-store and online experiences are the foundation of a successful customer experience. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding and a large majority of them (≈65%) are leaving a retailer as a result of bad experiences either with the after-sales service, the salesperson or in the context of an online purchase. 

Human contact has thus become a necessity for most of the consumers who don’t want robotization of the retail stores but a personalized and simplified experience to feel in the best conditions. Moreover, even if digital is growing, it is far from being unanimous and many buyers don’t seem ready to leave physical stores that have to reinvent themselves to fight against digital competition. 

At BayBridgeDigital, we create innovative solutions to help companies in their digital transformation. Among the various ways to improve the in-store experience, Bayretail is the unified commerce solution that enhances the customer experience. By improving the user experience, we increase the performance of our customers by an average of 42% in terms of average basket, conversion rate, etc. and their Net Promoter Score (customer satisfaction and loyalty) increases by an aver 


Prior to the pandemic, stores frequently served as brand showrooms, allowing customers to browse and discover products at their leisure, possibly while making impulse purchases. All of that changed in the face of lockdowns and security concerns, when trips to the store became less about discovery and more about fulfillment, especially for purchases made online. 

Today, retail leaders must innovate to become stronger and better at responding to their customers’ needs. To achieve this, several recent evolutions should be taken into consideration by the companies among which 

  • The rise of the online world which is disrupting physical stores that will eventually become a subset of the digital strategy. 
  • The low-touch economy which is becoming a priority with contactless shopping experiences multiplying and robotization facilitating the work of salespeople who can focus more on their customers 
  • The needs of customers who are becoming more demanding in the wake of the pandemic and who now want a personalized experience 
  • Social responsibility and ethics, which for many consumers must be placed at the heart of company policy with a new environmental, economic and social vision. 


Our Bayretail software increases sales, marketing agility, operational efficiency and time-to-value for cloud and digital adoption in the enterprise. BayBridgeDigital is committed to innovation and customer success. Bayretail’s mission is to empower retailers to use best-in-class enterprise software, mobile first, in the cloud that is transforming the in-store experience.

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