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Mercedes-Benz Smart Car Concept - Would Gottlieb Daimler Share this Vision?
The spark for the growth of the modern gasoline powered automobile was an innovation race. In the early 1890s,"Le Petit Journal, a French newspaper with a knack for publicity stunts, decided to hold a contest to discover the best method of propulsion: steam, electricity or petrol engine. It invited entrants to drive from Paris to Rouen, a distance of 79 miles. Their vehicles would be judged not by their speed but whether they were safe, easy to use and economical to run."
"The clear winner was not a direct participant but an inventor: Gottlieb Daimler, whose internal-combustion engine had powered nine of the vehicles, including the four that shared first prize. He had, the judges proclaimed, “turned petroleum or gasoline fuel into a practical solution” for self-propelled vehicles, which were starting to be referred to in French as “automobiles”. Daimler’s victory helped establish the supremacy of petrol-powered cars in the 20th century, and the term automobile soon spread into English and other languages."
Not too long ago, many including myself were forecasting major consumer changes for the year 2020. That magical year is just around the corner and it is now time to simplify the digital future of retail.
Big Data is Bot Food for AI
Information or more specifically data has been the power engine evolving the retail industry. For much of its history, the store, the forefront of the consumer moment of truth, was under-sensored.
With the connected consumer able to instantly choose alternative products or brands, retailers need to integrate a greater number of data sets inside their stores. Welcome to the Internet-of-Things for Retail (IoT):
Every National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, Deloitte publishes updated research on the top 250 global retailers. This favorite annual retail report summarizes industry / economic global trends and dissects the shifting sands of the world's largest retailers. This post summarizes my favorite insights from the 2018 edition.
The rules of retailing "are being rewritten in this time of transformative change. Innovation, collaboration, consolidation, integration, and automation will be required to reinvigorate commerce, profoundly impacting the way retailers do business now, and in the future."
The 2018 retail industry trends identified by Deloitte include:
This week finds me in Asia with stops in Shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. On many levels, Asia is the "below the surface" retail innovation laboratory.
In the "Retailing 2020" post I proposed that you "Look to China where 500 million people are already shopping on mobile phones to understand the future of retail. Digitally driven ultra-convenience, spontaneity, and social shopping trends are transforming all Chinese retail sectors including grocery." During this trip I had the opportunity to visit the Alibaba digital / physical hybrid Hema Supermarket in Shanghai.
Building on the "NRF 2018: The Ten Quick Transformational Retail Trends", as promised here are my three below the surface trends of the New York Big Show that define the future of retail.
More than 37,000 retailers and industry partners from 90+ countries descended on New York for the NRF 2018 trade event the week of January 14, 2018. Because this was one of my favorite NRF's to date, a series of posts will follow.
An annual tradition is to walk the floor observing the technology themes, speaking to lots of retailers and industry friends, and creating my own personal list of the foundational ideas that are evolving the retail industry.
From an initial list of 20+ observations, following are my top 10 quick takeaway trends of NRF 2018.
At its roots, retail has always been a human covenant between a shopkeeper and a consumer. For much of the industry's history, the transactional interactions were highly personal. The shopkeeper welcomed the customer by their name and adapted the goods sold based on their preferences.
Present-day mobile devices connected to the Internet-of-Things (IoT) are appreciably digitally disrupting consumer commerce. By 2020, retail shopping, no longer a chore, will blur into your everyday life.
A key highlight of 2017 was a retail customer panel that I had the pleasure of moderating. Four executives (two recently retired and two still active) representing over $70 billion in revenue shared their insights on industry megatrends, driving disruptive change, choosing a technology partner, and the future of retail.
The Retail Megatrends