Machines are becoming more intelligent than people, the world population is rising along with carbon emissions, and a handful of tech giants are seizing all the power. It is high time for Re-set, Re-made Re-tail. Jorg Snoeck will be sharing what that reset could look like at the 2022 RetailDetail Congress.
The future is already visible
We are in the middle of a global transformation: the pandemic, war, digital disruption and the race for raw materials have thoroughly redrawn the retail landscape. Hence, co-authors Jorg Snoeck and Pauline Neerman thought it was the right time to publish the sequel to their award-winning retail book The Future of Shopping. At the RetailDetail Congress, the brand new book The Future of Shopping: Re-set Re-made Re-tail will be presented for the first time, accompanied by an exclusive keynote.
What will the future of shopping look like? Indications are already visible everywhere. RetailDetail founder Jorg Snoeck can see the signs on the wall and predicts the future through four recent news items.
1. Ikea and H&M jointly hunt for creative talent
Ikea and H&M provide a clever and inspiring example of co-creation in London, as they are jointly opening a store at Ikea’s Livat shopping centre in Hammersmith. In that creative and artistic neighbourhood, young and local designers can sell their products. For the two retailers, of course, it is above all a way of spotting new talent, gaining inspiration themselves and finding out what is going on.
Co-creation, collaboration, and even co-opetition (working with competitors) are the future of retail and FMCG. Nowadays, nobody can do it alone. When even giants like Ikea and H&M have recognised this, it must mean this is getting serious. Consumers are more diverse than ever and expect to find that diversity on the high street as well. There is no longer a ‘one size fits all’: that is why global players are also getting inspired and are opening up to other players.
2. Shein is worth 100 billion dollars
Shein values itself at 100 billion dollars, which would make the company the third most valuable start-up in the world. The Chinese webshop combines – contrary to all sustainability trends – ultra-fast fashion with unprecedentedly low prices, thanks to Chinese logistical efficiency and the typically Chinese use of data. In the United States, it is already the most downloaded retail app, beating Amazon, and Shein is now also opening a pop-up store in London jointly with Klarna. It certainly indicates that they have their sights set on the European consumer.
It also illustrates how Chinese companies take the lead in the new retail world. Rather than remaining copycats, they have become leading innovators. Everyone can learn something from them. What Shein does with polluting fast fashion, can also be done in a sustainable way: through optimal use of data and technology, it is possible to make exactly what people want and buy whilst producing much less waste and excess.
3. Sharp price rises and shortages are inevitable
We live in times of scarcity. Price increases and shortages are apparent across supermarkets, but building materials and electronics have also been subject to months-long delays since last year. Bad news: the future might bring more of that. Not only because of the war in Ukraine, the Covid pandemic or other temporary disturbances: there will also be structural pressure on our planet and the globalised supply chain.
A new way of working is required. Not only do we have to look for more sustainable food that relies less on distant and polluting transportation, but nearshoring is also a growing trend in the non-food industry. Production is brought closer to home again to become less dependent on the East, in low-wage countries where wages are no longer as low. But nearby does not necessarily mean more sustainability: the once so glorious clothing workshops in the northern Italian town of Prato are now sweatshops populated by Chinese, who produce so-called Italian fashion on a conveyor belt.
4. The world’s largest Zara opens in Madrid
A Zara store of 9,000 sqm, covering four floors: that is what Inditex is bringing to Plaza de España in the heart of Madrid. Is this madness in these times of e-commerce? Not necessarily: stores take on different roles and meanings. In addition to mini-stores, shared spaces and shop-in-shops, huge flagship stores are also making a comeback. Even when retailers such as Inditex explicitly want to digitise and are proud that a quarter of sales is already made online.
The store is an experience and service hub rather than a point of sale. Customers can try on items they have put on hold online, browse in-store and order online at the same time, and pick up or return packages purchased online without contact. Of the 9,000 sqm, ‘only’ 5,000 sqm is actual retail space. The rest is warehouse space, partly for e-commerce.
Also part of the line-up of the RetailDetail Congress on 28 April in Antwerp: a mix of global platforms and local entrepreneurs, including Zalando, Alibaba, Rainpharma, La Bottega, Odette Lunettes and Cameleon. More info and tickets can be found through this link.