Blue Bird Shoes Co-founder Michelle Lima Shares her Thoughts on the Future of Retail

This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Retail series which interviews the world’s leading retail experts to better understand how the industry has evolved and most importantly, where it’s headed. 

The following is from a recent interview with Blue Bird Shoes co-founder and head of design Michelle Lima.

What personally excites you the most about the retail industry?

ML: I am very excited about the potential of O2O (offline to online). Many opportunities of learning open up in the brick and mortar world from the online world. We are already seeing the healthy coexistence in Asia of the O2O and I want to see what will happen in this part of the world, especially in Latam.

What has been the most dramatic change you’ve seen in the industry over the past 3-5 years?

ML: Undoubtedly the penetration of e-commerce in all categories. If categories as difficult to operate in e-commerce as the groceries are now booming I can’t imagine what to expect from fashion!

What are the top trends you see shaping brick and mortar retail in the next 3-5 years?

ML: 

  • Onmichannel: retailers that do not take advantage of this opportunity of blurred lines between offline and online will not survive.
  • Social commerce: the presence of social networks will continue to be a substantial element in the future. Not only setting trends but as increasingly important sales channels.
  • Data Analytics and IoT technology, among others, are allowing more information about the offline world and consumer behavior.

What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry in the next 3-5?

ML: Depends on the category. For example I believe robots are and will be key for the grocery segment (logistics, store operations). For fashion,  any technology that could allow getting information from customers’ offline behavior will be crucial.

What’s the future of brick and mortar retail? 

ML: The brick and mortar retail is in total transformation. I strongly believe that the survivors will be the ones who are able to merge the online with the offline world. In addition, I also believe that the future will benefit small/medium size brands like ours rather than the big ones because it’s easier for them to be closer to the customer.