“Build it and they will come” has long been the modus operandi for the retail sector. But two decades of unprecedented change both in terms of technology and the economic environment has shaken the retail sector. This is the age of the Connected Consumer who expects retailers to fulfill their needs before they even ask. Omni-channel is the word that now defines retail as we have moved to a model where retailers need to be constantly present, ready to engage with shoppers in the moment and on the move – as well as on the high street. This is what retailers must do to survive in the Future of Retail.
The retail environment may have changed dramatically but the four key battlegrounds – choice, price, convenience and experience – are every bit in evidence. On each front, retailers must work harder to survive, let alone win. This is a world where prices are standardized, consumers are dazzled and confused by endless choice, and shoppers judge stores by the way they make them feel not just the goods they sell.
All retailers, from pure play online stores to the stalwarts of our high streets and malls and everything in between, now face a myriad of challenges. At its heart is the shopper of the future – today’s constantly Connected Consumers who want it all and expect retailers to come up with the goods.
Understanding what makes these shoppers tick is more than half the challenge. Price savvy, technologically forward and with a mission to fulfill, the shopper of the future expects retailers to keep up with them, not the other way around. The challenge for retailers is to stay one step ahead of consumers’ demands. That means delivering on all fronts, be it product choice, service, customer experience or price.
The retailers that dominate and define this new age of retail will be the ones for whom change and uncertainty represents a fresh opportunity to thrive. Understanding the constantly changing consumer and market landscapes will be key, as will be a willingness to embrace innovations and invest to benefit retailers and customers now and in the years to come. That future of retail is here and now.
Are you ready for the Future of Retail? Find out more about how to navigate the Future of Retail in our report.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at James.Llewellyn@gfk.com.
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