The current rate of technological change is unprecedented in all known history. The power of this tidal wave is reshaping practically everything, retail included. Challenged on the new digital frontier, the industry is desperately trying to figure out what the future of retail will look like.
Since the start of 2017, I have been on a quest to help with this effort. Two weeks ago, I listened to the Retail Oasis team report back on their NRF findings. More recently, I joined hundreds of retail executives at the Retail Leaders Forum, which explored the possibilities and challenges ahead in this brave new world.
The key message is clear to me: change isn’t coming. It’s here. And, over the next several weeks I will share the five important trends you need to factor into planning and managing your retail business.
Here’s a teaser:
New Age Commerce Is Now Mainstream
Retailers must grapple with fundamental, structural shifts in consumer behaviour. Subscription commerce is booming. Consumers delight in ‘do it for me’ service and personalised products. Experiences have become more important than ‘things’. Social commerce is now mainstream. And, voice interface is next (think Amazon Alexa and Google Home).
Consumer Centricity Is Anywhere, Anytime & All About Me
Consumers are now in control, and expect to be treated like a market of one. It has never been more important to be a consumer-centric organisation. But what does this mean? Hint: Any channel, any border, anytime, and make it personal. Systemic operational changes are required to remain relevant. Clever retail technology is also critical in this pursuit.
Service Is Rebirthed For The New Economy
In an increasingly digital world, human engagement is the new luxury. With ecommerce giants thriving, human interactions are the last line of defense against the onslaught. Winning retailers are finding insight in data, and using it to empower their store teams to better serve their customers. New and innovative service models are emerging.
Democratised Technology Is The Great Enabler
Ten years ago, smart phones didn’t exist. We now live in a mobile world. It took Uber 5 years to reach 1 billion rides, but just 6 months to rack up its second billion. Wearables, drones and advanced robotics give us hint about the future. Technology can help retailers scale, and create customer delight. It’s time to immerse in the digital economy.
Amazon Is The Big Gorilla In Our Midst
Amazon is fundamentally changing the industry. It’s no wonder Aussie retailers are nervous with the ecommerce powerhouse set to launch down under later this year. Just how big a threat is Amazon? How must Australian retail change to survive and thrive?
I’ll be representing Retail Directions at all the major retail conferences and events this year, and will be sharing my findings in an ongoing series of short articles. This will give you access to important information with minimal time investment.
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