Retail of the future: a global view

What’s happening in retail? A stellar line-up of speakers from around the world brought insights into global trends at Inside Retail Live.

Artificial intelligence, data and technological innovations stand on one side of the retail future – personalisation and people are on the other.

How retailers bring these two elements together and create a seamless customer experience is the challenge, as delegates at the recent Inside Retail Live event at ICC in Sydney discovered.

Here are some of the thoughts on the future of retailing…

Anders Sorman Nillson, futurist

“Stores cannot exist as mere distribution centres. They are media platforms.”

"People want products, but they want products that are servitised."

Megan Quinn, zipPay and co-founder of Net-A-Porter

"From an ecommerce/mcommerce point of view we just have to make it as easy, intuitive, responsive and fast as we can.”

"In less than 10 years 75 percent of the population will be millenials, we need to learn to pivot and cater to what drives them."

Tom Elliot, managing director, Toms

"I've got no doubt it [he physical store in 2027] will change, bricks and mortar allows you to engage with your customer and that will always be the case."

"As technology involves we are having shallower relationships with people, it's the role of business to provide a catalyst to do good there."

"Consumers don't care whether we're profitable, they want that interaction."

Stefaan Le Clair, managing director, Berenike global fashion management

Older people are getting younger, and the youth of today is more mature

"Growth is not only coming from a younger generation, but also from older generations – that will be very important for the future."

"In these urban enviroments we'll find a mix of consumers […] retailers need to think ageless, urban consumers in a perrenial enviroment."

Paul Zahra, global retail advisor PWC and former David Jones CEO

"Physical locations are shrinking, but shopping is preodminately done in store. The store will get reinvented and be more digital."

"What Amazon has done successfully is think about how to give time back to consumers,"

Jim Fielding, president of consumer products and innovation, Fox Television

"The concept of social consumerism is coming, consumers around the world are much more into need shopping."

"It's not as much impulse purchasing as it used to be, that's not the way of shopping now."

"Experiences have a social currency, they're sharable – you can take selfies of yourself an Adele concert and that's more exciting to you than a new handbag."

John Vary, head of innovation, John Lewis

"We can do whatever we want with technology, but it’s about that empathy."

" We don’t want to have channels, it’s just shopping, so for us its about curating all those experiences for the customer."

“We want to blur the online and physical worlds. Convergence is where the future sits – travel, medicine, retail.”

Jon Bird, managing director,  Labstore Global

"To go beyond the honeymoon period we need to think about retail completely differently. We need to think in terms of connected customer experiences that deliver on effectiveness, ease and emotion."

"You need to forensically examine each of those moments to see what really turns customers on."