The future of retail

The internet of things and Stuffocation will cause, in the next decades, a retail revolution

Minority Report portrayed what retail would be like in 2054. Much of the technology is already here.

Minority Report portrayed what retail would be like in 2054. Much of the technology is already here.

Here are 12 of the greatest opportunities we'll see in retail in the 2010s: 

1. Click and collect
The galactic choice of the web, with the convenience of pick-up-on-your-way-home of the real world

2. Clicks and mortar
Pure-play retail will fall away, to be replaced by smart, flexible retail solutions that harness the best of the web, mobile and the real world

3. Experiential retail
Informed by a realisation that people have enough stuff, and inspired by ideas from books like The Curve, smart brands will shift their business models based on many they sold, to how much memo stuff to experience "how many did I sell?" to "what is my average revenue per user?" And the best way to do that will be through services rather than products.

4. Automatic retail
Aided by the internet of things, retailers will automatically service the needs of a home/person/family.

5. Micro-retailing
As online retailers will have smaller footprint stores that serve less as showrooms for products, and more as gateways to experiences

6. Gonzales delivery
Remember Speedy Gonzalez? That's how delivery will be in the future. Consider UK delivery service, Shutl, whose fastest time for delivering a product from store to home is a world record 14 minutes 58 seconds.

7. Content as commerce
The blurring of magazines and retailers will continue. Anyone like trend names like magvertorials or advertailing? Doesn't matter what you call it, in a world where so much content is becoming free, it could be the best way for content providers to survive. And it's a very smart sales opportunity for retailers – witness the run(a)way success of Net-A-Porter.

8. The 3 Speeds of Retail
Fast, when your customer just wants to pick up and go. Medium, where your customer wants to browse on their own. Slow, where your customer wants to ask questions of a real person. 

9. Real-world cookie culture
Just as Amazon knows who you are, what you bought last time, what people like you bought before, in the future, thanks to wearables, nearables and invisibles (which are all snazzy names for, and manifestations of, various versions of the internet of things), this will increasingly be possible in the real world.

10. Data-driven retail
What's more important: the value of that sale you just made, or the information that comes with it? If you're wondering, you've missed the point already. Data is key because it enables you to develop the relationship

11. The 3Ps of sustainable retail: people, planet, profits 
Anyone can provide good stuff nowadays. So why should anyone buy from you? Also, to be an effective business in the 2010s and beyond, you need to know your customer. Care about something larger than your business. Care about people and planet as well as profits.  If you do that, and stand for a purpose that resonates for people makes them not only be prepared, but also likely, to want to share their information with your brand. Author Simon Sinek (who is a stable-mate of The Future is Already Here's founder, James Wallman at Penguin) puts this very neatly: “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

12. FAN-based retail
Forget customers and clients. Think, instead, of Friends, Fans, Audience, Ambassadors and Network. In today's connected world, everyone is in that circle, from your suppliers to your employers to your neighbours.


To read more more on the future of retail, click the links to the articles below.