Tips for the future of retail

Just came across this post by retail and consumer futurist Jack Uldrich:

The Future of Retail Isn’t So Foreign

(…)One of my main messages, to quote the science fiction writer William Gibson, is this: “The future is already here … it just isn’t evenly distributed.” To this end, here are five trends from foreign lands that retailers should be aware of today:

Trend #1: Mobile shopping. In 2011, Tesco installed virtual displays on the walls of subway stations in Seoul, South Korea to allow time-strapped consumers the opportunity to use their smartphones to select items from a “virtual grocery aisle.” Those items were then delivered to their home by the time they arrived back home from work in the evening. According to this video, Tesco increased online sales by 130 percent.

Trend #2: Social Shopping. In India, Aaramshop is allowing consumers to use Facebook to shop for household items. The site, which partners with hundreds of local neighborhood shops and provides them a free online presence, then uses these small shops to deliver the goods. The consumer is saved the hassle of traveling to a store and the local shops generate new business by connecting with customers in their vicinity.

Trend #3: Facial Recognition Technology. Unilever is now using facial recognition technology not to target digital advertisements at customers—an application that is certainly coming—but instead with focus groups to discern whether people actually like a new product. (Often, the testers will claim they like the product but their facial reaction suggests a different story.) More interestingly, Unilever has also used the technology to dispense ice cream. The company installed facial recognition technology in vending machines and made people smile before dispensing the ice cream. (Kraft is experimenting with similar technology.)

Trend #4: From outsourcing to crowdsourcing. It should be no secret that innovative ideas do not reside solely within the walls of corporations. Instead, consumers—the very people who use products everyday—are also likely to have some goods ideas. UnserAller, a German company, is now aiming to bring companies and consumers together for the creation of better products. In short, the company is “crowd-sourcing” innovation.

Trend #5: Home Delivery. Hold on, you say, home delivery isn’t a new idea. It is when it’s the likes of KFC and McDonald’s doing the delivering. Many major urban centers in China, India and Africa are now getting so crowded that it is difficult for consumers to get around. By utilizing a team of couriers with access to real-time traffic and road conditions, KFC and McDonald’s has found it can make home deliveries faster and more efficiently than the consumer can get to their retail establishments. As traffic conditions worsen and real-time traffic information becomes more sophisticated look for this trend to grow.”

At The Tipping Point we resonnate with point #1 #2 and #4.

1. It’s a small step from smart phone app that helps consumers chose their impact to one that delivers the product at their house.

2. Consumer to consumer -peer to peer is the way we see information about Tipping spreading, and we see shops evolve from distribution points of product to hubs in a network of people connecting to form global valuechain communities.

4. The power of crowds is at the heart of our idea to involve stakeholders in designing and delivering impact.


About Gijs Spoor

#socent #systemchange #startup incubation and cocreation

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