Global retail trends and innovations from 2018

Posted on: 19/12/2018

Greek philosopher Heraklit was right 2,500 years ago when he said, “The only constant is change.” It’s certainly true today when it comes to retail. The monopoly of brick-and-mortar-based transactions is history.

The launch of online shopping marked a new era in retail, challenging the mindset of traditional retailers and forever changing the expectations of consumers. Voice services, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, and Amazon’s leap into physical retail space set new standards. Today’s consumers are always shopping – even when they’re not. A new normal is born! Changes are coming fast. The majority of tomorrow’s consumers are digital natives, born in a world where boundaries between digital and physical worlds have vanished. Retailers need to adapt to find their space in this new normal world. They need to be relevant, interesting and meet new expectations.

It’s time to change, to re-think, to innovate.  

I have recently read a report from Pragma Consulting titled ‘Global Retail Trends & Innovations’ – you can click here to download the report. The report evaluated over 40 innovative cases from more than 18 countries, revealing four different retail trends, to create a detailed big picture of what’s to come. I thought the report was excellent so I wanted to give you an overview of it here.

Trend #1 – Smart Shopping  

The modern consumer is busy. Millennials, especially, feel busier than ever. Between career, job, school, family time and social life, not much time remains for other chores. Therefore, the focus has to be on what consumers value, with “return on time” as the new currency. Consumers look for convenience in the purchasing situation and solutions that both optimize and save time. Smart shopping makes consumer life easier, simpler and more efficient, without compromising the quality of products or the shopping experience. Smart shopping is often driven by the use of smart technology and an integrated omnichannel experience. Here are the global retailers covered in the report:

Bringo,  Decathlon City,  Welle 7, Casper Media, Markt, Autobahn Motors, Chef-in-Box, Lowe’s Innovation Lab, Walmart, Pepe Jeans, Unmade, eBay, Myer.

Trend #2 – Interaction 

As a result of globalization and a world increasingly merged on every level, (e.g., economically, culturally), consumers have evolved to strive for personalization in all aspects of their lives, including of goods and services, and unique lifestyle choices. In a mainstream world, we want to feel special. In retail, the interaction between customers and staff sets the scene and tone for a personal shopping experience. Due to the rise of e-commerce, when consumers decide to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, they seek the personal experience that the online world cannot provide. The interaction in the store between products, staff and brand is essential, as it allows for more accurately identifying customer needs, building relationships and loyalty and personalizing the shopping experience.  Here are the global retailers covered in the report:

L’appart de Leroy Merlin, Mini-Migros, ROSE Bikes GmbH, Barnes & Noble, Blackmores, Barnas Lekeland, Beauty by Boozt 

Trend #3 – Emotional Retail 

Consumers do not choose a product based solely on its functional value, but rather on what it represents and the expressed/demonstrated values of the brand. Emotional retail is all about creating emotional ties and strengthening brand awareness through intensive storytelling and strong content. Being a retailer or a brand is more than selling products or services, it’s about creating identification and connections.

Consumers who identify with a brand tend to commit to it more strongly. The functional value of the product or service is subordinate to the added value that comes with it representing the consumer. Consumers’ perception of and identification with the brand is essential for creating a loyal, long-term relationship.  Here are the global retailers covered in the report:

Tegernsee Arkaden, ALDI SÜD, BUTIQ, Reserva, Indigo, IKEA temporary, LINE Friends, Fabled by Marie Claire, Nike Soho, LAGO, Dr. Martens, De Balkonie, Foodmarkt City by Jumbo, Orsay

Trend #4 – Responsibility 

Consumers care, and so should you. They care about the environment – both locally and globally, they care about people and social responsibility, they care about themselves and what they put in and on their bodies, they care about production conditions, etc., and, therefore, we quite often see consumer outcry then businesses are discovered to be violating social norms. Consumers have never been more socially conscious and brands and retailers should, therefore, incorporate social responsibility into their brand identity. Consumers want to feel that they are part of something greater when buying a brand, meaning that brands must provide them with an opportunity to support a good cause.  Here are the global retailers covered in the report:

UpsideDown, Coeur Paysan, ADIDAS – Knit for You, Feeding Spain, OBBIO, Reformation, Farmdrop, Happy Tosti, Bellamy Gallery, Veras Copenhagen  

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