All good trends come in threes

16. May 2022, MAXFIVE

What retail can look forward to over the next few years



The retail sector is in a state of constant flux, with technological innovations in particular really stirring things up right now. And international events such as the pandemic and the war  in Ukraine show us that many of the things we take as a given or consider to be out of the question are anything but.

Despite all the uncertainty out there, we want to walk you through three of the most important trends that will definitely shape the retail segment over the next few years.

Sustainability. Front and centre.

Right at the top of the list comes sustainability. And that goes for every industry right now. The European Commission’s confirmation that it will be pushing through its Green Deal over the next few decades spells lots of changes for society – and businesses, too.

There’s going to be a lot more to sustainability than simply an absence of single-use carrier bags at the checkout. In future, clear origin statements, ingredient labelling, recycling notifications, returns management policies, environmental protection strategies, employee benefits and much more besides will be ever present.

As in the past, people will adapt their shopping behaviours and learn to avoid brands and products that fail to deliver. In short, sustainability will shift from a nice-to-have to a must-have. And on a much greater scale than ever before.

New technologies. Online and in-store.

Technological innovations are shaping our times – and accelerating at an incredible pace. The opportunities that stem from them are huge and are not just changing individual stores, but entire business models with them.

The competitive advantages that arise from new tools, applications and the like are amazingly wide-ranging. Retail has to seize every available opportunity so that it doesn’t miss the boat.

Here, there are two vital aspects that must be kept in mind.

Firstly, the need to support internal systems to the fullest extent possible through things like automation, AI, the IoT, smart inventory systems and rapid supply chains. And secondly, to ensure that it offers the most attractive shopping experience possible. Whether it’s convenient, straightforward online access or an eye-catching and appealing in-store environment. Digital assistants, the right music, apposite design and even tasty highlights are all decisive factors when it comes to the POS of the future.

With all that in mind, it really is no accident that we are focusing on all five senses at MAXFIVE. Appealing to them with intelligence, enhancing the customer experience and, ultimately, combining the online and bricks-and-mortar customer experience as seamlessly as possible will be the greatest challenge.

Individualisation and personalisation. Something for everyone.

We live in an age of information overload and are used to quickly filtering out what we don’t need in a never-ending bid to separate the important from the unimportant. It’s not just products that need to become more personal and bespoke – the whole range needs to follow suit.

As everywhere else, digitalisation has a major hand to play in this particular trend. Advertising and online communication is tailored to the  taste of the individual. In-store shopping has to be a genuinely joined-up experience if it is to land properly with customers. New technologies and helping  hands such as augmented and virtual reality as well as digital assistants help to make shopping more interactive while zeroing in on individual requirements very effectively.

In essence, customers should never get the feeling that they are just one of many.

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