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How the Retail Industry Can Learn from 2020 and Prepare for 2021

March 11th, 2021 (Updated 06/20/2023) | 5 min. read

By Tolu Oke

What the Retail Industry Can Learn From 2020 to Plan for 2021

Last year presented a lot of challenges but also plenty of opportunities for the retail industry. From BOPIS to the increased adoption of omnichannel messaging and pricing practices, the retail industry seems to have had many options to adapt and evolve. 

We spoke to Andreas Broutas of TGN and Jochen Schmidt, Manager of Solution Strategy for EMEA, to discover what he felt were the key lessons from 2020 and how to face the changing landscape of 2021. 

In Your Opinion, How Has 2020 Changed the Retail Industry? 

Andreas Broutas, TGN  

Retailers went through difficult situations stores were and are closed in many countries. E-commerce fast became the alternative way and, in some cases, the only way of buying goods. In countries that were not so familiar with online shopping, engagement with e-commerce reached an all-time high. Electronic payments also became more efficient and secure, giving consumers a feeling of safety. 

Retail after the pandemic will not be the same, physical stores will, of course, continue to expand but probably with smaller physical stores, meaning less operational costs and more customercentric processes. Retail will expand and enrich its online presence with a larger variety of products, they’ll need smarter and more targeted campaigns and to become more competitive and price sensitive in order to gain market share, brand awareness and loyal customers. 

Jochen Schmidt, Pricefx 

Retail was intensively struck by the pandemic. This made many companies exploring their multi-channel strategies and possibilities. As revenue in the B&M was frequently blocked due to lockdowns, strategies and pricing possibilities, utilizing webshops and B&M availability were key to getting their turnover and not suffering too much from the crisis. 

What Are the Implications of That Change Going Into 2021 and Beyond? 

Andreas Broutas, TGN  

Even though many retailers already had e-shops and were well prepared with their internal operations, they found themselves struggling to maintain the supply chains and deliver the products. Retailers must focus on delivering their products and trying to figure out the best solution for their customers. We have noticed that many retailers added more providers from the supply chain, especially smaller companies, and turned to alternative methods of delivery taxis. At the end of the day, for the transaction to be complete, the customer must receive the product they ordered and the feeling, during this situation, is that the responsibility of late delivery lies with the retailer. 

Jochen Schmidt, Pricefx 

As the crisis continues, multichannel, as well as the chance to not just optimize prices for B&M but also for e-commerce, is the key to gaining advantage in the market. It’s quite important to offer a seamless and integrated offer to the market to make the customer journey and experience as good as possible. 

What Is a Hurdle That Businesses in this Industry Need to Overcome This Year? What Can They Do to Overcome These Hurdles, if at All? 

Andreas Broutas, TGN  

The main hurdle to overcome is to change the mindset and become more open minded to new technologies, methodologies and the new standards that the pandemic has created. Retailers need to get even closer to their consumers, and listen to and understand their needs in this special period. It is important to adapt fast to this new era of the market, become price sensitive and offer a variety of services that will help the end customer from pre-sales, to sales, to delivery, to after-sales, because as always, competition is always just one click away. 

Jochen Schmidt, Pricefx 

Combining e-commerce specific pricing data and dynamic with the advantage brick and mortar has with regards to regionality can give the customer a unique experience. Pricefx offers both possibilities to streamline and improve the current pricing-specific strategies and make them what they are supposed to be – a strategic initiative instead of a reactive and not integrated fumbling. 

Do You See Any Glimpse of Positive News on the Horizon? How Can Businesses in the Retail Industry Prepare to Take Advantage of This? 

Andreas Broutas, TGN 

We have seen that retailers are transforming the way they work and are becoming more focused on e-commerce and omnichannel philosophies. The experience retailers gained through applying different tactics of reaching and serving customers is an advantage for the full digital future that is coming. It is already much easier and faster to buy something online. Retailers are becoming more data oriented and are moving towards data gathering and analysis, thus making the price intelligence ecosystem and different pricing tactics key factors that will help retailers to navigate the new realities of their market. 

Jochen Schmidt, Pricefx 

As customers are adapting to e-commerce as an additional traffic channel for B&M, customer brand loyalty can be married to the actual needs of clients. Like this, it is not just diving for the cheapest prices but offering a unique one-stop-shop solution, being competitive, available, and maximizing the margin based on product mix and optimization criteria. 


Want to see what general trends to look out for in the year ahead? Check out this Q&A session from the experts about lessons and how to prepare for 2021.

About the Experts: 

About Andreas Broutas: Andreas has 15 years of retail experience and is an expert in all in-store operations. He has helped several companies achieve successful commercial strategies. 

Jochen Schmidt: Jochen has gathered a decade of experience in the eCom and Retail pricing industry. Working for multiple consultancy companies, building up a strong strategic background but also implementing pricing software in various industries and verticals as an e2e project manager and configuration engineer, the combination of technical experience and strategic knowledge he owns is key and necessary in the pricing software industry. With a passion for fast moving channel driven businesses, he focuses on B2C projects, eCommerce in specific. 

Tolu Oke

Director - Marketing , Pricefx

Tolu had 5 years of experience with content planning and strategy and got her start with inbound marketing.