It’s hard to discount the speed of change occurring in the world of retail and consumer products. Consider this: E-commerce could be 25% of the retail experience by 2021. “Shopper marketing,” which combines location intelligence, mobile technology and in-store display technology for a new form of in-store promotion, continues to move forward at the pace of the technology on which it is based. Mobile payment involving Apple Pay and the disappearance of the cash-register provide for more disruption, while providing additional opportunity and challenge with loyalty, store infrastructure and the rise of small startups. Then there is Amazon Alexa, AI and shopping bots: simply talk and products are added to your shopping cart, and delivered within an hour! Logistics is taking centre stage with the rapid installation of “click and collect” infrastructure (i.e. an online purchase, with same day pickup at a retail location). Add to this the arrival of active, intelligent packaging and intelligent (“Internet of Things”) products, collapsing product life-cycles, rapid product obsolescence and the implications of all this on on inventory and supply chain concepts!
We are going to see more change in the world of retail in the next 5 years than we have seen in the last 100. The Amazon purchase of Whole Foods is just a shot across the bow of an industry in the midst of massive change, challenge and opportunity! Savvy brands, retailers, shopping mall and retail infrastructure companies are working to understand these trends, and what they need to do from an innovation perspective to turn them from challenge to opportunity. Futurist Jim Carroll is known worldwide for helping executives to understand the tsunami of change sweeping every aspect of the sector.