A couple of weeks ago, we attended the annual Wired Retail conference to see and hear what the great and the good of the retail industry are predicting is coming our way in the next year or two. Many great innovations were covered over the course of the day, and here are our personal favourites:
The eccentric Per Cromwell, a Swedish ad-man, activist and inventor presented his vision for the future of retail. It’s all about ‘bringing the store to wherever the customers are’.
Wheelys mobile coffee shops
In their quest of serving the best coffee in the world, Wheelys bills itself as ‘the bike powered cart that could take on Starbucks’, enabling people to start their own café business serving artisan coffee. For a mere $4,999, Wheelys will provide you with a bike, along with all the necessary kit for you to be able to set up your own mobile coffee shop. All you need to do is go and find your customers.
The autonomous vehicle is designed to be almost completely self-sufficient, relying on software that tracks its inventory and alerts the Moby Mart when it's time to restock
The first prototype is deployed in China and his aim is to build 10 by the end of next year.
To back up this vision of ‘bringing the store to where the customers are’, Per reminded us that 28 May 2017 was a landmark day – the first ever when more people searched for ‘nearest’ rather than ‘cheapest’.
According to Jeremy Morris of Google, most websites lose half their visitors whilst loading. The current benchmark for the top 100 companies in EMEA is 3.8 seconds, but he suggested businesses need to aim for their sites to load in less than 2 seconds.
53% abandon a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load
To illustrate the importance of this, he shared a case study of a consumer (Stacy) looking to purchase a new car, of which 71% of her journey was done on mobile. See below
63% of us expect personalisation when visiting a website.
Finally, Sandrine Deveaux of Farfetch. Sandrine is responsible for developing, executing and rolling out new, in-store technologies across Farfetch’s community of retail partners. Sandrine and her team are focused on developing a pioneering mix of technology that will shape the retail experience of the future.
For them, one of the biggest challenges facing physical retailers is customer recognition – understanding a customer’s digital journey before they enter the store. And even while they are in it.
She pointed to the fact that 92% of luxury sales today still take place in physical stores. By 2025, even with online sales growth, that figure will have only decreased to 75%. In her opinion it will likely then plateau, leaving the store still very much at the centre of the luxury industry. What has to shift, however, is how those experiences take place she said.
“How can you really be serious about data when 92% of the action is happening in stores and you are not collecting data in stores?”
Farfetch’s ‘Store of the Future’ aims at providing the in-store experience of the future by giving visibility to retailers on what is happening in their store. It’s the ‘offline cookie’ that closes the loop between a great online presence and a complete omni-channel offering and, finally, in-store technology which augments the experience of customers in store and overall.
The next stage in the evolution of the fashion industry is the connected store, which uses technology to enhance the luxury retail experience to become even more customer-centric.
Founder of Farfetch, José Neves concludes “The mantra of this industry needs to be a single view of data. This is the most powerful thing about the Store of the Future. It’s absolutely imperative that we bring that data intelligence into our businesses and deliver to customers incredible, mind-blowing experiences that only data allows us to do.”