3 future trends in retailing

On 6th September I had the very great honour of being a speaker at the 1st Royal Sun Alliance retail customer seminar at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris. RSA ran this inaugural event for their European retail clients to share ideas, to network and to thank them for their custom. My talk was “The future of Retailing” and I focused on 3 topics which I will share in this article…

Mobile is the enabler – retail innovation driven by access to the internet on the move

My first topic was mobile – not in itself, but as an enabler of so many new innovations. The increasing consumer appetite for access to the internet on the move lead to a plethora of devices, in our pockets and bags, which get us online any time, any place and almost anywhere.

Smart phones enable social sharing, mobile search, research, transactions and reviews – and this can be before, during and after the “shopping” has taken place, or, instead of “shopping” completely. See this video by Google on the “smart shopper” – 

The acceptance of using mobile for so much more has lead to innovation in other areas – SMS marketing and SMS purchasing methods – bypassing the need for a reliable internet connection completely!

Yes – mobile is changing the face of retailing and, to quote Nick Marley, head of web selling at Waitrose, has given us a “remote control for life”.

Personalisation forces retailers to think differently about engaging with their customers

As customers, especially when we have loyalty cards, we’re “agreeing” to the retailer holding data about us. As we get more time pressure and more demanding, we as consumers are “expecting” that in return for us allowing access to our personal information retailers will provide us with a more relevant shopping experience. We know that with a bit of effort they could market to us better and we like it when they get it right. So retailers need to recognise that consumers value GOOD personalised marketing is a relevant, time-saving method to talk to us… but get it wrong and consumers are VERY intolerant!

Personalisation has been around for a long time when it comes to product – bespoke / tailored etc… but now it’s being used more subtly on items you might not first think of such as trainers… Have a look at NikeID on YouTube… 

And there are some businesses working on personalisation of the whole shopping experience – so watch this space!

A preference to shop online has made retailers get more creative about in store experience

This trend is the culmination of the other trends – a passion for online, for connectedness, for access to information and to “have it my way”. Retailers have really had to rethink their retail stores in order to engage a fast-paced consumer who values interaction and information at an alarming rate!

Apple lead the way with stores that were much more about getting involved with products and enjoyment than about holding stock and selling items. Indeed recently it was reported that Disney engaged Apple to help them make their stores more of a “retail theatre” to inspire customers to buy merchandise; moving away from their older, supermarket-like layouts.

It is Adidas however who stand out from the crowd implementing the ultimate in technology. They’ve put “iPad” like interaction into stores, with WOW technologies and genuine benefits in terms of their customer engagement – this isn’t sci-fi – this is retailing in the future – have a look at this…

Why are mobile, personalisation and retail theatre going to be the future of retail?

To quote Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google “If you don’t have a mobile strategy you don’t have a future strategy”

To quote Lauren Freedman, President of The e-tailing group “Consumers value the convenience, time savings and ease from a more relevant interaction”

And my thoughts… The “iPad customer” wants an in-store experience that is rich, exciting and interactive; better than the online alternatives or bricks and mortar will be left behind.

Lets see if the 3 of us have used our crystal balls well!!! 🙂

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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
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2 Responses to 3 future trends in retailing

  1. This website is Very informative. Congratulations! Keep up the great work!

  2. TheAstuteAccountant says:

    Great article – great for big business but a real challenge for small business!

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