Retailing is in a permanent state of flux as rapidly emerging technologies spawn new ways of buying and selling goods and services and disrupt the established retailers.
We are probably all familiar with Uber and Airbnb and their disruption of their markets. Let’s take a look at a few of the newest ideas around in 2015.
Farfetch is an online store which can source high fashion products from boutiques around the world for clients. It is a “global community of over 300 visionary fashion boutiques offering an inspirational shopping experience to fashion-forward consumers”. The products offered by the boutiques are all available through one e-commerce site, offering home delivery. Their USP is “the cultural diversity that comes from uniting the perspectives of hundreds of different buyers, each with their own unique style and vision”.
Square Market allows local businesses to get into e-commerce. It lets users share items for sale on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
Full stack commerce features companies that design, manufacture and distribute products –completely vertical companies. Dispensing with the middleman, they will benefit from margins of 60 to 80 %, as opposed to a more normal wholesalers 40% gross margin.
At the opposite extreme are retailers who carry no stock and rely on manufacturing partners to do that for them. They only purchase presold items.
Combining the internet of things with the sharing economy can produce new opportunities. Imagine once everything contains a chip and is connected to the internet –the opportunities for sharing are very interesting. People will be able to share or hire out products that they own, in the way car sharing has stated to happen in our cities.
Retail subscription is a big new trend. For a monthly fee, a retailer will source and supply goods selected on behalf of the client. This is popular already for fruit and vegetable deliveries, and is emerging in clothing and health products such as vitamins and supplements. Amazon have a system called Subscribe and Save, offering discounts for repeated purchases of groceries, personal and household items. PetFlow will deliver dog and cat food and other items.
Recycling site company Clotho allows people to get credits for used clothing they send in, which they exchange for used product from other clients.
Snap fashion allows users to snap clothing they like, then it finds them similar products from a pool of retailers.
Rent the Runway deliver a selection of clothes and accessories for women, which they can rent for a few days.
Pleygo rents Lego sets!
Some of this may sound rather unlikely to permeate our shopping experiences, but if you think back to the traditional world of retail , and consider how much has changed in the last ten years, how dramatically the landscape has altered , anything we can imagine may happen in the next ten or even five years!
Thera are some significant population trends that will impact on retailers too;-.
Baby boomers are now reaching retirement and their share of demand for appropriate products as well as services and experiences will impact dramatically on retail.
Millennials, now between 15 and 30, are the first generation that grew up knowing the internet, social media, computers and mobiles, and their demands and practices will influence retail
Emerging economies will produce populations with massive spending power, but whose spending preferences may be different from those that retail has been used to providing.