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56 Future of Retail


issue 01


The depth and sophistication of the relationship between social and shopping looks set to develop even further, to get ahead retailers must be the facilitators and make it easy for shoppers to interact and share through their communities.


proposition. However, retailers will need to think differently about the role of service staff, of which the shape will undoubtedly change. Our people will be much less involved in the


facilitation of transactions, instead becoming key collaborators with customers, set in prime position at the front end of the service chain. Experts in their field and at the centre of


your community, they will be the curators of advice, and as such provide differentiation in the market and give shoppers a reason to engage online or visit a store. They will also have a higher profile in the organisation. Retailers can take inspiration from brands


like AO.com and Pets at Home – where colleague and customer interaction is re- shaping their categories.


CONSUMERS IN CHARGE Overriding societal changes effecting


consumers have heightened their position, putting them well and truly in charge of the relationship with brands, so how can you turn what may seem a challenge into an opportunity? We live in a fiercely competitive environment


with brands and retailers vying for our time and attention. The brands that will win will focus on and cultivate shopper demand for convenience. Build it into your DNA. Live it through technology and people. Make it as simple, easy and enjoyable as possible to shop with you, wherever, whenever, however. A convenience society is placing greater


emphasis on our devices to become increasingly simple to use. One button shopping is gaining traction in the US and over the next five years we anticipate the UK will start to follow suit. This is all about digitisation continuing to make shopping simpler, easier and tuned to personal preferences. Examples include Amazon’s Dash Button


that enables Prime members in the US to reorder their favourite household items at the touch of a button. Push Me Pizza’s app, also in the US, enables single-tap pizza ordering, and there’s a similar service in Dubai but in the form of a wireless fridge magnet. The concept of personalisation to meet


evolving customer demand is not just about service delivery, it’s about product development too. In recent years there’s been a renaissance


in customisation of products due to new technology making it easier and cheaper to enable customers to tailor products to personal preferences. Shoes of Prey is a fantastic example of this in action, successfully scaling a business that offers custom shoes. Now we can mix up our own cereal with mixmyown.com or even design the roof of our Mini Cooper. By 2020 mass customization won’t just give


retailers and brands a competitive edge, it will become everyday business as shoppers expect this service as standard. Retailers can also win by meeting demand


for shopper propensity to share. Social and shopping are intrinsically linked, with social


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