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ZaraMilanStore1This past week had the pleasure of visiting the new Zara Concept Store in Milan, Italy. Located near to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest retail malls in the world, this Inditex owned location is the perfect bridge to the future of retail.  

What do you do when you decide that a major flagship location in the fashion capital of the world needs a physical upgrade? If you are Zara, you close the majority of the store and leverage the elegant entrance to test a new retail concept. 

Walking through the entryway you can very quickly visualize the intersection of online and the physical retail store. Uncluttered physical clothing racks are overshadowed by a large digital screen displaying the latest fashions. Simplicity meets digital innovation. 

 

Customer First Cashierless Shopping and Self-Checkout Theft

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The announcement of Amazon Go in December 2016 sparked the Western imagination on the potential of frictionless cashierless shopping. Roughly 18 months later, we are still on the road to the fully autonomous retail store. 

This post summarizes the opportunities and challenges of this global innovation journey. Primary focus is on the state of self-checkout, mobile scan-and-go adoption, and an update on global autonomous store deployments. 

Back to the Future of Automated Stores

 

Coming soon, the new Sensormatic Global Shrink Index. The most comprehensive shrink survey to date from countries representing 73% of global GDP and 80% of global retail sales.

First is the sample infographic shared last week focusing on Europe.  Second, for the global audience, below is an additional peek at the data. More in April.

ShrinkIndexPart1

 

ConnectedStores

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):

 

GlobaLeadership

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.

Transformative Change, Reinvigorated Commerce

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:

 

IMG 0626This 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.

What a Visually Amazing Story You are Spinning

 

NRF2018

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.

"Big Data is Bot Food for AI"

 

Smartphone2020

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.

The Smart Shopping Home 

 

MeetingFY18Kickoff1

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

 

"Step with care and great tact, and remember that Shopping's a Great Balancing Act." (1)

2018from2017

As we enter the busiest shopping season of 2017, I started reflecting on the differentiation strategies for a successful transition to the digital future of retail.  What are the definitive formulas for retail success in 2018 and beyond?

The McKinsey Formula for Retail Success 

McKinsey in October 2017, published a great article on shopping and personalized marketing. "Targeted communications that are relevant and useful can create lasting customer loyalty and drive revenue growth of 10 to 30 percent."

As part of their marketing personalization analysis, McKinsey pointed to this simple formula: