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’s it’s headed.
The following is from a recent interview with the Editor In Chief of Rethink Retail Julia Raymond.
What personally excites you the most about the retail industry?
JR: Stores becoming more connected and focused on telling a brand story.
What has been the most dramatic change you’ve seen in the industry over the past 3-5 years?
JR: Digital payments. In the future, and to some extent even now, physical wallets are no longer needed to carry credit cards. In China specifically, the rise of facial payment technology has been dramatic.
What are the top trends you see shaping brick and mortar retail in the next 3-5 years?
JR: There are really 3 key trends I’m watching closely this year: (1) Interesting and unexpected partnerships – for example, as we saw in 2019: ThredUp with JCPenney/Macy’s, Kohls/Amazon, W Hotels/Rent The Runway, Walgreens/Kroger, etc., (2) The rise of the resale market – there are so many factors driving this such as sustainability and affordability, especially for luxury brands in the second hand market, which ThredUp predicts will double in five years (3) Human-centric retail wins – this is something we’ve been talking about for a long time. With technology maturing, retailers can refocus on the human interactions that drive the emotional connections between brands and consumers.
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry in the next 3-5?
JR: I’m bullish on augmented and virtual reality technology for personalization: for example, a retailer virtually showing you how any given clothing item it sells would look on your body. And I have to add machine learning applications for optimizing logistics and supply chain operations (did someone say same-day delivery?).
What’s the future of brick and mortar retail?
JR: The future of brick and mortar retail is bright! Stores will tell a story. Stores will serve as a media channel, and therefore new KPIs will be used to measure success (for example, level of customer engagement with a particular in-store product). Digital connectivity will be as expected as electricity is today.