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New realities: 3 retail trends taking over in 2021

Why contactless payments, click and collect and mobile checkout are taking center stage

July 27, 2021

New realities: 3 retail trends taking over in 2021
There’s little question that retail has lived through an incredibly dynamic year. Even as COVID-19 subsides, its dramatic effects on consumer behavior will likely live on, perhaps forever.
If your business includes point of sale (POS) devices, contactless payments and mobile checkout solutions, you’ll be happy to know that several of the top retail trends this year are driving the need for DC/POS solutions.
Trend #1: Usage of mobile and contactless payments is accelerating.
The concept of “contactless” seems to be a COVID-centric trend with staying power. When it comes to checkout processes, customers have gravitated toward quick, easy and contactless payment experiences.
According to Raydiant, a notable 83% of consumers have used contactless payments at least once in the past 12 months and 72% use contactless payments routinely. Why? Primarily for convenience and safety.
Most respondents (47.2%) are drawn to contactless checkout for its convenience. Using an app, tap-and-go, or mobile wallet is easier than scanning their credit card, inserting a chipped card or using cash. Nearly as many respondents (35.5%) prefer contactless payments for health reasons. Touching communal card readers or dirty cash seems unnecessarily risky when contactless options are available.
Trend #2: Health and safety practices are a top consumer focus.
The global pandemic not only brought spikes in COVID-19 cases, but along with it, rising anxiety for shoppers. In a survey from Deloitte, 56% of consumers were anxious about shopping in stores, revealing the need for retailers to invest in additional health and safety measures in the upcoming year.
74% of consumers are also concerned about the cleanliness of cash (which can carry more germs than the typical household toilet). Surveyed executives were aware of the concern, stating that both “health and safety” and “trust” would be among the top 2021 purchase drivers for U.S. consumers. Most of the surveyed executives plan to make moderate to large investments in health and safety upgrades in 2021, with three-quarters investing in sanitation devices and barriers. 
Even as the population receives COVID-19 vaccinations, the modern consumer remains cognizant of cleanliness. Consumers will likely be germ-conscious for the foreseeable future, and offering contactless payments is a way to respect shoppers’ concerns.
Trend #3: Brick-and-mortar retailers are rapidly adopting alternative checkout methods.
Convenience is another consumer demand that’s here to stay. So are safety-related expectations. For that reason, there’s no shortage of new tech solutions working to make the retail checkout experience as quick, safe and painless as possible. That’s driving many retailers to adopt alternative checkout methods:
  • Self-checkout kiosks: In February 2020, PYMNTS reported that consumers prefer unattended retail channels because they like shopping at their own pace—49.4% use self-checkout because it’s faster and 34.7% prefer the shorter lines. 
  • Mobile checkout: Another alternative is mobile checkout stations, which allow employees to check customers out anywhere in the store. Mobile software can transform smartphones and tablets into a POS, which means there’s no need for a stationary checkout area. 
  • Click and collect: Many retail establishments display QR codes in store windows to encourage customers to shop online first and then click and collect their order in-store. It combines the convenience of e-commerce and retail software solutions with the speed of in-store pickup.
  • Curbside pickup: When customers buy online and pick up from the store (curbside), they have the convenience of not having to leave their cars; and retailers love it because they can reduce shipping and packaging costs and pull from their in-store inventory. 


It looks like POS in retail is here to stay. To help you capitalize on these trends and provide retailers with the right technology, check out solutions from leading manufacturer partners: APG, ELO, Honeywell, HP POS, Panasonic Toughbooks, Samsung Mobile, Star Micronics and Zebra.

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