Unless you’ve been living under a rock – and hibernating – for the past decade, you know that retail is undergoing a seismic shift brought about largely by the internet and ecommerce. What do these changes mean for your wine shop? [level-members]
That’s the $64,000 question, of course, and though I can’t pretend to know the answer, I can say with certainty that ignoring the issue is not going to do you any favors. So articles like Imagining the Retail Store of the Future, published in the New York Times last week, are well worth the read, even if they don’t serve as crytal balls to help you predict the future.
Perhaps we aren’t going to see robots replacing retail clerks any time soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if RFID tags make the traditional checkout process a thing of the past. (Then again, that’s one computer glitch away from a distaster – if the product’s already out the door and payment is any way in doubt …)
But there are certainly other changes looming and though those changes are more likely to begin with the large chain retailers, as the technology underneath them becomes more affordable, your Main Street neighbors will begin to adopt the tools based on two criteria:
- Does it save me money?
- Does it attract more customers?
Attracting more customers can be technology that makes the shopping experience more convenient – like the ability to tap an order into their phones and have it ready for pickup when they arrive – or it can be technology that makes the buying process more fun. The experience shouldn’t be underestimated since so many other things will potentially be difficult to match – things like price, convenience and selection, depending on the exact circumstances.
Each article like this may not help you sort out what direction things will take in retail or how to ensure that your business thrives in the coming decade, but taken together, they will help you paint as knowledgeable a picture as possible. Seek this information out and do more than hope for the best.