Futurice, digital agency from London, Munich, Stockholm and Helsinki, has identified eight key technology, culture and social trends driving change in the retail sector in order to identify short-term customer opportunities in the run-up to 2020. From a consumer's point of view the trends are:
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Digital services are allowing mass consumers to access luxurious experiences at the click of a button, that were previously the preserve of the rich and famous. Retailers are under starters’ orders to provide personalised services that make consumers feel special. The culture of mass celebrity is fuelled by social channels which enables ordinary people to become overnight YouTube or Instagram sensations. How can retailers respond appropriately?
How consumers are controlling the logistics of when and where they shop with the emphasis on convenience, immediacy and saving time. Retailers must offer flexible delivery services and instant purchase apps. Free time will become a luxury purchase with the rise of micro task services that allow consumers to outsource tedious jobs and buy themselves more leisure time.
Money is being reinvented as retailers seek frictionless payment systems including paying with your smile – all focussed on convenience and ease. New transaction methods are spawning new forms of currency, with mobile payments leading the way. Retailers should look for ways to monetise the auxiliary activities around payments, while loyalty and reward schemes must keep pace with emerging trends.
Increased automation in the form of robotics is taking over everything from self-service checkouts to warehouse logistics. Beyond retail, robots are being trialled everywhere from construction to cookery to surgical operations. As we increasingly outsource menial jobs to robots, how will retailers rise to the challenge of monetising our free time?
Collaboration not competition is the new order of things as businesses join forces to create new ways to meet consumers’ fast changing expectations. Expect unusual partnerships and the emergence of larger service ecosystems designed to satisfy customers’ needs flexibly and fast.
“Our aim is to provide retailers with inspiration that will help them develop a clear strategic vision for the future and to bring direction to the immediate challenges they face as market conditions tighten post-Brexit. We have examined how our society is evolving through a technical anthropological lens. Based on research and insights we are confident that these trends will drive mainstream development in the retail sector.”
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