The future of retail and e-tail


by Kristel Liakou

 

When I was younger I used to think a lot about my future. I still am. Future sounds appealing just because is unknown and (could be) wild. On the subject of fashion and specifically retail, future doesn’t look that clear, in comparison to what a forecaster would have said twenty years before.

During two decades now, we shop clothes at the same frequency and price we shop our groceries; fast fashion changed it all. We no more shop from the local boutiques and instead, we became members of big-ass shopping malls.

In the modern society where time is luxury, visiting malls is not an option. Everyone goes online and place an order using their mobile, while in the metro. And that is pretty much it. No need for a physical store to exist. Then again, how empty life would feel without “window shopping”? and above all, what will the post-online-shopping era bring?

There are many predictions about what a retail experience would feel like in the near future. How would be the new business model? We’ve seen pop-up stores, we’ ve seen perfectly curated concept stores, online second-hand democratic applications, videos of a model doing a catwalk wearing products etc.

From what it looks like, retail space (including stores and centres) will become smaller. The new retail model, wants every possible business to have an online shop, while there is only a small physical store for customers to try out the products. The goal is to offer clients more personal service in the physical stores (people seem to look for personalized experiences more than ever), thus more profit.

the future of retailIn addition to the existing technologies that bring the ease of online shopping to the physical shop, other technologies are being developed for e-tailers to grow their online services. For example, the social aspects of shopping can be brought online through enabling chatting with other social shoppers (e.g. Zebo.com) or chatbots (e.g. Victoria’s Secret). Additionally, the need for trying out products through virtually trying on things with Augmented Reality (e.g. G.A.P., Macy’s).

In any case, it is obvious that the e-tail will help the retail and vice versa. Those who can understand that and grasp the needs of their target-customers will thrive. One thing is for sure, staying where you are is not an option.

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