The time is now. The future is tomorrow. And retail is evolving, just as it has always evolved to keep pace with consumer needs and desires.
As we all know, COVID-19 has accelerated certain trends. Five years of change, pushed into five months: From being well to wellbeing; from “peak stuff” to re-use, re-furbish and re-purpose; from big box to small/alternative formats; and from global to more local. So what’s next?
The joy of shopping in real life is seeing, touching, hearing, smelling (and sometimes tasting) the product; “IRL” shopping is about thrilling the senses. Just as the role of brick-and-mortar stores and shopping centres needs to be re-defined, so does the digital shopping experience. Right now, most products are presented as a product or package next to more products and packages. The experience is just a transaction, with one brand following another.
Remember the old days, commuting downtown, grabbing a coffee on the way to the office and plunking down at a desk? Everyday routines have been disrupted and multiple aspects of life will see sustained change. Work rituals have been impacted the most, and attitudes towards “what we need” are now aligning “what is meaningful.”
During times of crisis, our brains crave certainty and predictability – an intrinsic self-defence mechanism. But, when the immediate future is difficult to predict, taking the long view provides clarity and possibilities when the near term feels less certain. Some possibilities may be new while others may be old, and simply, applied differently. And, like now, adaptability will be key.
To quote Mark Twain, “the past does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes”.