The future of retail in 7 words
Here some of the new concepts emerging the retail world lately. All of them are results of the Digital Transformation, which is completely changing sales and physical spaces. How exactly?
The retail of the future must offer the customer a simple and fluid path, of deep and constant interaction, but must also know how to guarantee emotions and demonstrate to have social and ecological causes at heart. It can focus on the integration of services, on the mixture of human and technological elements, on the open innovation to seek inspiration from outside. For each point, there is a keyword.
Here is the real meaning of what these keywords, with relevant examples and case studies, and why they are important for keeping the retail world in step with innovation.
1. SMART SHOPPING
The value of time and simplicity are factors that are increasingly appreciated by customers. Designing fluid paths, facilitating store orientation and decision-making processes, enhancing cross-channel methods at multiple levels, streamlining payment processes are examples of how to achieve these goals. Visual merchandising and in-store communication can help generate shops and ‘talking’ spaces, self-explanatory areas, able to be explored independently without the need to interact with the store staff. So, even the employees can dedicate their time to interactions with customers with greater added value.
The customer wants to be amazed: today shopping is above all “fun” to be practiced either alone or as a social moment of sharing, and the diffusion of entertainment services within the places of purchase is one of the phenomena that have taken on greater visibility, with the definition of Retailtainment. In fact, it represents the answer to the affirmation of the demand for “emotional experience” as a decisive component in the purchase motivation.
From spectators to protagonists: it’s called Horizontal retail. People are on the same level as retailers, they have access to the same information sources, are increasingly aware of the choices and they are eager to make them free. This revolution can become an opportunity, involving customers in paths of co-design, turning them into ambassadors of the sign, enhancing them as early adopters of our new product launches.
Environment’s themes, social causes support and respect of those who work are things that consolidate year after year, and can become differentiating elements if retailers make them central in strategies and in operations. In addition, energy and resource savings, and optimization of logistics, are increasingly crucial aspects to also improve the economic accounts.
Emotions continue to drive many of the choices of the people in purchasing process, in the choice of channels to use, sites to browse, shops to visit. In an increasingly multi-channel scenario, stores have the advantage of being able to count on the physicality of interactions with products and people, to generate positive emotions, helping the brand become important. The contribution that new technologies and digital can provide to the store also can be red in an emotional key, transforming the process of ‘buying’ in ‘shopping’.
Cross-channel is an evolution of multi-channel, which requires the design of integrated services between multiple channels. Some examples are Click & Collect Services, which assume that the order takes place online but pick-up at the store, or geo-localized advertising that aims to push users into a physical store. The attention, in this case, is on the creation of a gratifying customer experience and that enhances two touch points, enhancing their respective peculiarities.
The concept, which combines the global with the local, bets on the fact that trade has local souls. Even multinationals are increasingly aware of this, even when they expand on international markets, work by combining strong global identities with local variations.