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10 retail predictions all business owners should prepare for – Shep Hyken

On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back Shep Hyken, customer experience expert, acclaimed speaker, and New York Times best-selling author. Hyken’s work includes several popular business books including “The Convenience Revolution” and “The Amazement Revolution.” He is also a frequent contributor to Forbes, Fox Business, and USA Today. In this segment, Hyken breaks down the key points of his recent article, “Ten Business Predictions for 2021.”

  1. Customers will continue to get smarter: Consumer expectations will naturally gravitate to what they love and enjoy. Take a poll from your employees that will reveal what their favorite companies are and why. Then ask yourself – is my company doing any of those things? If you are, great. If not, then try to implement some.
  2. Customers are becoming impatient: Retailers like Amazon have set a standard for speed and created an expectation for consumers to expect their product in as little as two hours.
  3. Convenience is no longer optional: In the age of COVID-19, more convenient and flexible buying options became essential for consumers. Car dealers are a prime example of this.
  4. The virtual and remote workforce is the ‘norm’: Companies realized in 2020 that some, or all, of their staff members could work remotely with relatively few interruptions.
  5. More companies are automating and digitizing the experience: Automation is getting better and better for retailers. While some consumers might not enjoy chatting to a digital chatbot, many consumers like the ability to get the information that they need without having to hold for a human representative.
  6. The word for 2021 will be empathy: One of the biggest or most important skills for any customer service representative or salesperson to have, is the ability to empathize with the customer. Not just by understanding what they want, but what they need.
  7. Personalization at the digital level: It’s important for businesses to analyze their customers’ past data and personalize their overall experience.
  8. Chatbots will do more than just communicate with customers: Chatbots have been improving as well. The bots are becoming advanced enough to understand what customers need to know.
  9. Companies will over-automate and over-digitize: While automation has improved, it is important not to rely on those processes too much. Decide where it is appropriate and the most effective for your business.
  10. Problems can be predicted: Business owners will need to anticipate common problems and take preventative measures to avoid escalation.

Did you enjoy this interview with customer experience expert Shep Hyken? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at

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