Shopping bags and mobileToday we launch our new Tomorrow’s Retail report and we hope you take the chance to download and read it.

And please don’t think that if you don’t work in retail, it’s not for you.  One of the things we focus on at TomorrowToday is how technologies and innovations from one industry can prove disruptive to other, quite unrelated, businesses.  For example, the Nintendo Wii was not an iterative development built upon the blocks of existing video games – it was someone who thought to harness the technology used in airbags that brought revolution to the games industry.

Retail, at the front line in terms of responding to customers, tends to be ahead of the game in utilising technological advances and understanding changes in people’s needs and demands.   We’ve uncovered some really innovative and exciting applications and business models – but which could disrupt your industry?

Despite the enormous upheaval in the retail sector illustrated by the recent loss of three more UK high street names, to all intents and purposes the business of buying hasn’t changed much.   A combination of price, convenience, urgency and emotion will determine where a shopper chooses to spend on any given occasion.  But what has changed, and will continue to do so, is the level of information available to the consumer to make these choices. We’ve moved from ‘traditional’ to ‘multi- channel’ to, now, ‘hyper-channel’ – with customers using an almost endless permutation of routes to discover, research, buy and report on their purchases.

Yes, there have been some high-profile casualties in the retail space within the last couple of weeks, but we don’t think that the high street is going to disappear any time soon. It’s going through a painful patch right now, having to contend with the huge disruption wrought by online retail as well as the depression in consumer spending caused by the ongoing recession.  But it could come out the other side looking far more interesting.  Big chains will become less dominant, taking smaller spaces to ‘showroom’ their products using some amazing new technology such as the cool stuff to be found at Audi City in London, or the virtual fitting room swivel.  This reduction in big-chain spend will force rents down, allowing niche and local businesses to move back in – and expect to see online operators like Amazon joining them with some exciting concept stores…..

In the online environment, new social, collaborative and just plain helpful business models are springing up. One of our favourites is the potentially very disruptive – which not only shows a customer where a product is cheapest, but it also predicts if the price is likely to change, a confidence rating in this prediction and an indication of when new models are to be launched.  What would happen in your industry if customers made their buying decisions using such a system?  Maybe it couldn’t happen, you say.  But could it??

Take a look for yourself at all our discoveries and predictions and consider how your industry could be disrupted.  You can download the Tomorrow’s Retail report here.

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