CI&T’s Retail Big Three for 2021


CI&T , Melissa Minkow

Connected Retail Experiences

Prior to the pandemic, consumers struggled to find value in connected retail experiences such as BOPIS and curbside pick-up. The speediness of brick and mortar, combined with the convenience of online ordering is a formula now appreciated by the majority of shoppers. In our Connected Retail Experiences consumer survey, 83% of respondents reported that they had viewed items online and then shopped for them in physical stores within the last three months. In the industry audit portion of our Connected Retail Experiences study, our UX design team ranked 28 retailers on their connected experiences to determine who’s best set up for success entering 2021, and beyond. Considering the rapid behavioral changes exhibited by shoppers in the last year, retailers continually investing early in innovative connected commerce technologies will be rewarded by earning customers, not just sales.

Demand Forecasting

A sharp demand forecasting model has been imperative since the dawn of retail, yet each year we continue to hear how retailers struggled to keep waste and margin-slashing to a minimum. The pandemic’s immediate and unpredictable effects across all industries exposed just how fragile demand forecasting can be, and just how many variables should be included. Unusual weather patterns and a faster-paced, global, social media culture further the need for updated, extremely agile planning systems. Not only have past demand forecasting models relied upon conventional and minimal inputs, but they also neglected to encompass reverse logistics and redistribution elements. 2020 was the perfect motivator to re-examine existing demand forecasting models, and 2021 will be the perfect year to start leveraging more predictive technology.


In our Sustainability Consumer Survey, 40% of participants reported that in the last year, they have switched away from one place to another when buying something in order to choose a more sustainable brand/retailer. And 31% reported that they stopped buying from a brand because of its lack of sustainability efforts in the last year. While consumers have plenty of room to choose more sustainable brands, large retailers such as Gap, Lululemon, Target, and Walmart continue to pledge their commitment to becoming more environmentally friendly. Gen Z’s piqued interest in sustainability, the lessened need for fast fashion over the past year, combined with increased consumer patience with production and delivery timelines are creating the perfect backdrop for digital enablement to play a greater role in reducing retailers’ environmental footprints.

For a more global look at CI&T’s 2021 retail predictions, visit our article in A1 Retail.


Melissa Minkow

Retail Industry Lead