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Retail Development Forecasts: Online vs Offline Essay

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Updated: Mar 24th, 2020

Practically every person at least once in a lifetime had a desire to get a glimpse of the future. At the same time due to the rapid development of modern technologies, it is rather difficult to predict what the world will look like in the future. A short ten years ago, there were no such things as smartphones, tablet computers and social networks. At that time these things have been unimaginable, nowadays it is impossible to imagine our life without them.

Under the circumstances of the competitive market, information means everything. Apart from successful management, branding and advertising, one of the keys to success for any company is the ability to foresee tendencies for changes in consumer demands and shopping capacity.

There are many examples in history when the ability of a management team to predict future events contributes to success of a company. With this purpose, leading companies hold various opinion polls trying to adjust to new rapidly changing realities. In any case, in modern world to be successful means to keep up with the times.

In this regard, many leading companies conduct different researches that help to imagine how retail will look like in several years. For example, the study Global E-Tailing 2025, which has been conducted upon the initiative of the Deutsche Post DHL, suggests several scenarios of the development of global online retail.

These different forecasts of the development of retail are based on the analysis of the most important factors, from the energy prices, technological and social factors up to patterns of consumers behavior.

In the nearest ten years, the role of online retail will increase. It is expected that logistics will play the key role. A delivery of an order will be realized within several hours. Moreover, there will be flexible terms of a return of commodity.

It is no wonder that every scenario suggests a rapid growth of digital technologies. Such devices as “data glasses, smart contact lenses and other wearables will become indispensable parts of everyday life” (“Global E-Tailing 2025” par.9). Basing on this it is possible to imagine a shopping center of the future. The main tendencies that will determine the development of digital retail will be a personification of orders and an individual approach to a customer in general. Even nowadays contemporary technologies permit to determine a customers profile and hereafter this tendency will increase.

It is an open secret that it is possible to trace a history of purchases made by any person by means of internet as well as to trace websites visited by this person. In spite of the existence of the laws, which guarantee a free choice of residence and a non-intrusion into privacy, even now attempts of any government to control its citizens may be observed. It may be illustrated by attempts to implement digital passports and to integrate these passports with credit cards. I think that this tendency will increase.

The same technology will be used by leading retailers in order to study consumers demand. As Kean puts it “screens and posters will display different images based on the information on your mobile – your purchase history, the brands you like on social platforms, who your friends are, as well as your gender and age” (par.10).

By means of in-depth analyses of a customers personal profile, his habits, his life style and occupation it will be possible to make precise individual propositions. Moreover, a customer will be provided with information concerning newly designed products in a stock by means of all existing channels in accordance with his personal requests. The amount of information, which now is considered as spam, will be reduced. A consumer will receive only that information which will be interesting for him. In such a way, advertising and marketing activities will become more effective.

For instance before entering a shop, a customer will be identified by means of special digital system (“7 Predictions for Shopping in 2025” par.5). After that, he will be at once proposed those goods, which will correspond to his interests. “Technologies like near field communication and facial recognition will allow retailers to personalize product assortments in real time so they are tailored to a consumer’s purchase history” (Scultz par.6).

According to one of the scenarios proposed by Global E-Tailing 2025 “intelligent avatars will serve as virtual shopping assistance” (“Global E-Tailing 2025” par.9). It is possible to suggest that by 2015 the majority of employees in big shopping centers will be substituted with automatons. The role of an employee will be control and maintenance support of these automatons.

Nowadays the problem of any big supermarket is its size. From time to time, it is possible to observe a situation when customers, especially those who have never been before in this shop, resort to a help of an employee asking to show a place where a required product is situated. Different kinds of signboards are not very helpful in such a situation. It is possible to suggest that in future this problem will be solved with mobile devices, which will be equipped with some analogue of the GPS system. For instance, before entering a supermarket its map will be automatically downloaded into a customer’s device.

The tendency for personalization will have its impact on the demands to logistics. For instance, a choice of a delivery method will depend upon an individual demand of a client.

The Food Marketing Institute represents one of the futuristic visions of a grocery store of the future. In the attempts to predict the tendencies in this sphere, the researchers of this Institute provide the example of “a grocery store with shifting walls that transforms into restaurant at night and a farmers market on Saturday mornings” (Scultz par.1). Moreover, they predict that an assortment of stores will differ depending upon seasons of a year, times of a day and even weather.

It is more than likely that such thing as virtual fitting room will appear. For instance, while buying a coat, apart from an evaluation of its quality a consumer will have an opportunity to check with the help of virtual reality whether this coat will suit him or not.

In addition, it goes without saying that the number of online sales will increase to a great extent. In this respect, there are two opposite opinions. On the one hand, it is suggested that the majority of purchases will be realized by means of online technologies and in such a way the role of a huge supermarkets will be diminished (Charas par.3).

On the other hand, the tendency for globalization strongly suggests an existence of huge shopping centers, which will meet market needs of a whole community (Dunne, Lusch and Carver 619). In any case, making forecast is not an easy task and we have to wait scant ten years in order to see what the future will look like.

Works Cited

7 Predictions for Shopping in 2025. 2013. Web.

Charas, Lars. Supermarkets in 2025. 2012. Web.

Dunne, Patrick, Robert Lusch and James Carver. Retailing, Mason, USA: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.

Global E-Tailing 2025. n.d. Web.

Kean, Amy. 2015. Web.

Scultz, Edward. . 2014. Web.

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