2021: Three retail technology trends to watch

Retailers may have no reason to be over-optimistic, but ’21 could be a good year with help from key emerging technology trends.

In my previous column, I reviewed several innovative technologies that retailers used in 2020 to mitigate some of the unique disruption seen by the industry over the past year. For this column, I will examine three technology trends I expect to have a major impact on retail in the coming year.

Online returns for anyone
The well-documented surge in online commerce which has occurred since the outbreak of COVID-19 is producing an accompanying rise in online returns. Commercial real estate firm CBRE predicts consumers will wind up returning $70 billion worth of 2020 online holiday purchases, and there are no signs of a post-holiday dip in digital transactions or returns.

A number of retailers are turning what could be a major supply chain bottleneck into a competitive advantage by partnering with a variety of…

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