New 'Future of Retail' Forecast Offers Some Surprises


Yesterday, trend forecasting agency PSFK released their annual Future of Retail report. The result of interviews with executives at companies like Hanes, Topshop, eBay, Starbucks, Razorfish, Kraft, Adidas, Involver, Samsung, Retailigence, Virgin America, J.C. Penney and more, the report documents some of the biggest factors estimated to impact retail in the coming years. The full report is available to purchase in book form for $95, but they’ve also released some highlights of their research which you can page through for free. Here, five of the biggest takeaways:

1. Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t doomed:
PSFK’s research team concludes that mobile technology will aid sales associates and consumers, and will enhance the in-store experience. E-commerce will continue to be popular, but shopping local does come with its own set of advantages.

2. Customers expect more from their in-store experience:
Shoppers now want the same instant access and availability that they get online, whether it’s information about items they’re considering purchasing, peer reviews or answers to questions about shipping or back stock.

A slide from the PSFK report showcasing Bloomingdale’s experimental new fitting rooms.

3. Stores need to focus on fitting rooms: One of the major advantages that brick-and-mortar stores hold over their online counterparts is that they give customers the ability to not only touch and see products with their own eyes, but also to try on clothing and accessories. Research has proven that if a shopper tries on an item, they are much much more inclined to buy it. Improving fitting rooms by making them more attractive, comfortable and available to shoppers will impact stores’ bottom lines.

4. Local deals will continue to be popular:
Real-time geo-targeted deals will grow in popularity, but retailers have to be careful to present offers that are well-tailored to their audiences. If people are not interested in the notifications they’ll simply turn them off.

5. Stores must turn core customers into advocates:
In addition to adding “fans” or “friends,” brands also need to find a way to get online consumers to spread the word to their individual networks. And not all customers are created equal: Some retailers are rewarding fans that have extensive online social connections with freebies for what is essentially a marketing service.

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