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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The “new normal” forced by the COVID-19 pandemic over the final nine months of 2020 will confront businesses from newest and smallest to global giants in 2021, and a new report from research firm Forrester spells out many of the “pivots” entrepreneurs will have to make in order to survive, let alone flourish.

“Your company has already faced a lot of transitions this year — probably more than you had previously thought possible. And yet, looking ahead to 2021, there are still some big transitions in store,” notes ecommerce services provider ChannelAdvisor.

“The question is: Will your business survive, adapt or grow?”

COVID-19 has certainly driven up demand for ecommerce. Mastercard SpendingPulse reports that online shopping sales also grew a whopping 49% between October 11 and December 24, further emphasizing how the pandemic has reshaped shopping habits, CNN reports.

How will you adapt – logistics to inventory?

From more emphasis on logistics to emerging forms of payments such as contactless and more regulations regarding customer privacy, the business landscape will be forbidding epecially as the pandemic worsens before vaccines have any substantial impact.

Warns Forrester: “Logistics, malls, payments, brands, and regulations affected by COVID-19 will change retail forever.”

How can your business take advantage of emerging opportunities and adapt to continuous change?

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • To adapt and grow in 2021, digital business pros at retailers and brand manufacturers will prioritize logistics, distribution, and payments — and must adapt to regulation.
  • Retailers, brands, and even mall operators will invest in a portfolio of new logistics and payments solutions for changing markets, consumers, and business partners.
  • Savvy brand manufacturers will finally take control of their distribution and business destinies, including smart, deliberate distribution via select partners and direct-to-consumer (DTC) initiatives.
  • States, agencies, and courts will keep a close eye on privacy and data protection practices and, in the US, finally review Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
  • Retailers and brand manufacturers must set themselves up to successfully, continually reinvent themselves.

“Many [executives] are entirely rethinking their businesses and ways of working: As Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass noted, ‘We have … really kind of seized the moment to reset, and perhaps it’s things we saw already in our business that were working, that were accelerating, or even bigger pivots.’”

Points of emphasis for 2021 in emerging trends:

  • Retailers will invest more in logistics than anything else for speed and flexibility.
  • Contactless and deferred payments will break more than 50 years of US consumer payment habits.
  • Savvy brand manufacturers will take control of their distribution and invest in DTC.
  • Regulators and courts will tackle consumer protection, marketplaces, and privacy.

Read the full report online thanks to Triangle-based ChannelAdvisor.