I’m looking forward to 2017, I see some interesting times ahead for retail:
- New Tribes of the Amazon-ization
There will be further “Amazonization” of retail with new market entrants – as well as existing retailers - finding new ways to sell, fulfill and deliver products to eager, often impatient, consumers.
- You Won’t Need a Remote for Channel Hopping
Retailers will quickly adapt and connect into new channels to engage with customers, using avenues including “conversational commerce” – Amazon Echo or Bots in Facebook Messenger.
- Find More Stuff
Real-time inventory will be a reality, as more retailers realize that a rip-and-replace program for core merchandising, warehouse and store systems is not the best – or the quickest - way forward; the smartest retailers will look for other approaches like using in-memory caching combined with high-speed messaging in order to provide real-time inventory levels across every location, channel, store and shipment.
- Stores Geek Up To Attract Customers
Customers want to see techie gadgets when they go into brick-and-mortar stores, and retailers are going to be adding cool things like robots that give them directions, kiosks for in-store ordering, and magic mirrors for trying on clothes.
- Eat Your Heart Out, Jamie Oliver
IoT will start to creep into kitchens as devices like Amazon Echo, Hiku and others allow consumers to add things to their shopping lists. Conversational commerce will be a precursor to Artificial Intelligence and then “cognitive commerce,” which will appear over the next few years.
- We Know What You Want
The arrival of “anticipatory customer experience” will allow retailers to manage customer expectations earlier and earlier in the sales process. This in turn can help retailers to solidify an emotional attachment to their brand, offering customers what they want before they know they want it.
As retailers get to grips with real-time inventory, geek up their stores to attract new customers and begin to predict what customers want early in the sales cycle, they will have a much easier time taking advantage of the “retail moment.”
I will go into further detail about each prediction in 2017. I wish you all the best for the festive period and the New Year.