A lot of different things are being tried across a wide spectrum. The question is which are the most impactful and scalable. On this front, retailers that are less focused on different shopping channels and instead acknowledge that the customer is the channel and actively embrace the blur to deliver a well harmonized experience are well positioned.
Brands that are experimenting with more hybrid formats, combining unique product with service elements and community to create a memorable experience are the winners in the game. Retailers like Eataly, Boxpark in the UK and the new Neighborhoods Store in Texas are noteworthy in the retail sphere.
What’s Happening in the Retail Sphere
We will continue to see those retailers trapped in the boring, undifferentiated middle retrench, or go away completely.
For this matter, two things are critical; first, many retailers will continue struggling because they got stuck in the middle and haven’t firmly decided which direction they wish to choose. Do they decide to focus more on efficient “buying” and drive down costs and improve speed and convenience, or do they go firmly towards delivering a more remarkable “shopping” experience?
The middle is collapsing and brands must pick a lane and go all in. Simply being good enough no longer is. Second, a retailer must commit to be more radical (#8 in 8 Essentials of Remarkable Retail), fostering a culture of experimentation, trying many more things and being willing to fail forward. Those that don’t will quickly find themselves falling further and further behind.
The Retail Industry Moving Forward in the Next 2 – 5 Years
At the forefront of it all, Amazon, and Alibaba will continue to gain share and invest more heavily in a brick and mortar presence. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will gain wider adoption. We will see more deployment of robotics, both in distribution and, slowly but surely, in direct consumer delivery. The best retailers will commit to truly treating different customer differently and improve their personalisation, curation and customisation offerings.
What Retailers Can Do To Stay Ahead of the Market
Retailers should deeply and thoroughly analyse the customer journey and how it is evolving for all their important customer segments and all their key purchase events.
Step 1 is then to root out the most harmful points of friction. Step 2 is to find product and/or service areas to amplify to deliver a more memorable experience.
Join Me in New Retail
I will be focusing on two major things for New Retail ‘19. First, I’ll be giving my thoughts on where the industry is going and dispelling the myth of the retail apocalypse. Second, I’ll lay out my 8 Essentials of Remarkable Retail as a framework to help brand works through this age of digital disruptive. My goal is to educate, inspire and catalyse organisations to achieve their growth and innovation goals more quickly.
About Steve Dennis
Steve is the President of SageBerry Consulting, a leading firm on growth strategy and innovation for retail and social impact brands. He is also a retail contributor for Forbes and named as a top retail influencer by several organisations. He shares his perspectives on digital disruption and the future of retail in keynote speeches, blogs, and the press.