BY Fast Company Contributor 2 MINUTE READ

What exactly does innovation and agility entail, and how does it work to serve e-commerce-based businesses in 2021?

During lockdown last year, online retail sales grew by 40% globally, according to reports, and the baby boomer generation emerged among the most active online shoppers.

For many retailers, this shift facilitated a quick adoption of a more innovative and agile way of doing business.

The pertinent question to ask is what exactly does innovation and agility entail, and how does it work to serve e-commerce-based businesses in 2021.

The New Retail Operating Model of the Future, a study published by Deloitte last year, highlights that the goal for online retailers is to become more consumer-centric and to operate more efficiently. Though the specifics of the efficiency will vary for different businesses, the ability to react to shifts in the market is key.

One of the most important ways an e-retailer can do this is by becoming a data-driven enterprise that relies on analytics to inform planning and decision-making.

Data is simply information – about customers, revenue, market share and more – and retailers who embrace the data and make its application a key business strategy, are sure to reap the rewards. The Deloitte study also mentions the danger of “disconnected departmental thinking”, thus emphasising the need for a holistic, customer-centric approach, which translates into a consumer-first shopping experience. Insiders at online rental company Teljoy, reveal 3 ways they maintain a competitive edge as an e-commerce business.


Partnerships in the online retail space have the potential to help brands elevate their offering and outsmart their competitors by offering the customer a unique product and service experience.

The right partnership, smartly executed, can bring retailers new customers, help maintain customer interest, expand customer loyalty, and ultimately increase revenue. What’s more, savvy retailers will know that such partnerships can be achieved without a heavy financial or staff investment.

A successful partnership is one where the partner brand’s products or services not only complement your own but help to create additional value for existing customers while also drawing in new customers with the expanded offering. Beyond the customer value element, a strategic partnership allows for drawing on the experience, expertise and skills set of another brand, as well as drawing on their data.


The transacting process is a key consideration in the online purchasing process – and contactless is the way to go.

In fact, contactless payments were heralded as the “must-have safeword for retail”, suggesting that online retailers cannot afford to not have the option of ‘tap and go’ and mobile payments.

Consider the ease of transactions for online purchases. In fact, the online payment space has grown significantly with the spread of Covid-19, as people are anxious about being exposed to the virus via physical contact with things like card machines.


Beyond the technical requirements that make for a pleasant online retail experience, the customer experience needs to be considered too. It is arguably the question the world’s foremost retailers spend a lot of time examining and finding solutions to – how to turn online shopping into an experience, one that minimises the bells and whistles (think sounds, scent, feel) that makes for pleasurable shopping in a brick-and-mortar setup.

It’s a challenging space to be in at the moment, but the visionaries among us know that the best opportunities are to be found in the challenges. Those willing to embrace the uncertainty and get excited about the pace of change are sure to emerge as the frontrunners in this race.


Author: Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO, Teljoy