Retail 2050: Know What’s Coming
Norm Feuti’s “Retail” aptly depicts the ebb and flow of working in retail. Though comical, one of his latest publications expresses the growing feeling of panic among retailers as customers move to online shopping. Brands are either shutting down stores or shrinking their footprints. The customary retail arrangement with goods neatly stacked up on shelves is on its last legs.
However, the world has also witnessed a resurgence of physical retail. Many retailers who have cracked the code are revamping their business strategies to align with the changing consumer behaviors and shifting market techniques. They’re incorporating technology and making use of new inventions to keep up with the emerging markets trends. With changes happening at such a rapid pace, it is evident that technology will play an important role in the future of retail.
Leading marketers and futurists have laid down certain predictions about the future of retail. By simplifying the current retail trends, we can definitely expect a “more” of everything in the future – more technology, more innovations, more channels, more convenience, more personalization, more options. The future also poses significant challenges for retailers, especially when it comes to the upcoming generation of consumers.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our top predictions to gain insights about how the world of retail would look like in 2050.
Use of Technology in Retail will become a norm
Technology has transformed the way people shop, but by 2050, technology will become the order of the day.
- Augmented Reality – Customers visiting stores and trying out new products from the comfort of their home will become a norm.
- There’ll be more number of compact showrooms that allow customers to view products, which are then delivered home.
- There’ll be a rise in 3D and even 4D “virtual merchandising” in stores, saving retailers the cost of having a large product inventory.
- Retailers will use virtual mannequins and 3D holograms to display merchandise.
- Ultra-fast Delivery – Products being delivered in few hours of being ordered will be a common thing.
- Online shopping will become even cheaper and easier with lowered delivery time and cost.
- Shopping on the go using mobile phones and smart devices will become conventional, and will make marketing on the go essential.
- Customers will define the inventory of businesses i.e., what they don’t view or buy will not be ordered from suppliers.
- The retail era will move from personalization to hyper-personalization.
There’ll be a significant change in the customer buying behavior
The customer buying behavior is expected to change considerably as retailers will be dealing with Gen Z customers. By 2020 they will be 40% of the consumers in the U.S., Europe, and BRIC countries. The generation after the Millennials is definitely going to have an entirely different attitude towards everything as they are the ones who haven’t seen a world without technology. Technology is natural to the Gen Z and the generation succeeding them. Hence, retailers in 2050 will face the challenges of engaging with these now-upcoming-then-ubiquitous generations.
Customers will also be more inclined toward businesses that contribute to the blue environment. Till now, it was all about a sustainable and green planet. But with time the focus will shift towards businesses ensuring that the overall influence of their processes recovers the surrounding ecosystem.
The final point
The future will be all about balance. Just as there are things that will change, there are things that will never change. As human beings, our basic need for contentment and social interaction will never change. Hence, brands need to work on meeting customers’ need while understanding what remains true to the human nature. Only then will they be ready for the indeterminable future.