Tag Archives: retail trends

The Future of Shopping?

the futureWhen I think of “Future Shopping,” I think of George Jetson trying to give his wife a twenty, but she takes the whole wallet instead! Anyhoozle, there’s an article in the Wall Street Journal on the future of shopping entitled, oddly enough, The Future of Shopping. The basic nugget o’ wisdom goes like this:

Thirty years down the road, much of the change in retail is going to be driven by a complete reformulation of the relationship between how we make the stuff, how we sell the stuff and how we consume the stuff.

Here are some of the predictions:

Malls become “Alls”: I can remember our mall back in the 70s had not one, but two grocery stores in it. That seems ridiculous now but, apparently, it will be coming back. Aside from clothing, food and electronics, you will see “gyms and innovative fitness centers, medical services and even schools, grocery stores and luxury spas”.

Artisanal everything: Handcrafted clothes, furniture, foods, etc.This is about the counter trend of being local. It is about a need to be different and nostalgic for things that are timeless and somehow pure.”

Highly personalized clothing: Super-precise tailored measurements for clothing made immediately by robots. They’re already doing it in Korea!

A Different Kind of “Mobile”: They’re doing this in Charleston SC already. There’s a restaurant on the well-to-do/upscale tourist part of town. They have long waits, so on weekends, this truck full of upscale ladies apparel/accessories parks outside the place to take advantage of the captive. (“Go ahead, honey; I’ll be in the bar.” – Me)

Are you seeing some of these already? Which ones? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

The Wrong Way to Shop?

stock-footage-five-shopping-bags-with-letters-bags-form-the-word-sale-d-animationWalking into my local, famous big-box grocery store on a Saturday afternoon is like walking into an Old West cattle stampede combined with the Normandy invasion multiplied by eleventy-billion. Your first clue about the fun you’re about to have is that the shopping carts are all gone.

And that’s no knock against the store – these are just our shopping habits! Turns out…

The amount of money Americans spend in stores, restaurants, gas stations and online depends heavily on the day of the week. Americans tend to spend the most — an average of $76 a day — on Saturdays, followed by Fridays ($73). MarketWatch.com

If your schedule only allows you to hit the store on the weekend, then you just have to cope. But if you have some flexibility, then you may do well to shop for different items on different days. Such as:

  • Movies on Monday
  • Dining out on Tuesday
  • Groceries on Wednesday
  • Clothing on Thursday

Check out this article for further details. How about you? Have you mastered a savings-by-the-day pattern? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Retail of the FUTURE!

amazon droneYou may have seen the gizmo above in a viral video that went around the web last month. Apparently, when we’re finished blowing up al Qaeda, Amazon wants to employ flying drones to deliver your packages same day – maybe even same hour – depending on where you live. (And, really, shouldn’t we employ veterans?)

The video shows the folks at the Amazon warehouse packing your order in these special tubs. The drone comes by, clamps the tub and takes off. An hour later the tub is dropped at your doorstep. I wonder what we’re supposed to do with the tubs?

Anyway, that’s just one of the retail advancements being speculated in a Business Insider article entitled “10 Predictions For How Shopping Will Completely Change In The Future.

Here are some highlights (with bonus dumb commentary)! See if any sound good to you…

  • Companies are researching you in unprecedented ways. (No! that’s the government’s job!) Looking at the ways we perceive value, and hoping to manipulate them, I guess.
  • Same-day (or hour) delivery will become common. Either by drone or by some dude in brown shorts.
  • Traditional stores will have the same analytic intelligence as online. “How do we arrive at our buying decisions?” That’s what they’re after.
  • Social feedback will factor into purchases. Retailers are paying attention to platforms like Pinterest, where shoppers post pics of the items they like or have purchased. The retailers then take those items and feature them more prominently.
  • Privacy will become a business. As we have seen recently, maybe Target should get into that business!

Per usual, just the highlights. Lots more at the original piece, so check it out! What do YOU think? Good changes? Do you think retailers are doing these things to make life easier or to make $$$$$? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Conspiracy at the Return Desk?

2391.mdaThe next time you return something to the store, just know that the all-seeing Eye of Sauron is watching you! It’s up to you to decide if that’s a bad thing or not.

Returns account for almost 10% of all retail items purchased each year, over a quarter-trillion dollars a year in the US! And while the majority of people doing the returning are average upstanding Joes and Janes like us, there are some whose practices aren’t so wholesome, and the retailers are pushing back.

Many retailers are tracking you, too — or at least your merchandise returns. The companies say it’s all in the name of security and fighting fraud. They want to be able to identify chronic returners or gangs of thieves trying to make off with high-end products that are returned later for store credit.  Salt Lake Tribune

They pass this info along (mostly in secret) to companies, almost like credit agencies, who collect your return information and create “profiles” of your habits.  Naturally, the retailers say they are trying to protect the bottom line and prevent fraud. Just as naturally, shoppers are getting worked up about profiling and transparency.

What do you think? Necessary evil in the name of Low Prices, or one more intrusion in a life that already has too many? Read the original article, and tell us your opinion over at the MindField Online Facebook page. And have a great weekend!

The Mall of the Future!

How will shopping change over the next 30 years?

The way Blake Nordstrom sees it, fashion has always been about change — “creating a reason for the customer to buy something new” — and the next three decades will bring more of it. The next 30 years of retailing will be all about the customer’s interests. And it will be up to merchants to keep up with or anticipate their every desire.”  USAToday.com

Yes, he’s that Nordstrom. We don’t have any of those around me, but I have always heard stories of their legendary customer service. Nice to see that they are thinking ahead.

Anyway, what does the future of shopping look like?  It’s all about technology:

  • Digital fitting rooms with parametric technology that simulates your body type and gives you a sense of look and fit.
  • 3-D printers that will allow you to make products in their own homes.
  • Smartphone technology that lets retailers dig into your personal data to figure out their tastes and potential interests.
  • Cash registers disappear as all transaction occur using cell phones.

The thing is, every one of these things exist right now, so it makes sense that somebody is going to find a way to use it for (your) fun and (their) profit.

But don’t expect stores filled with touch-screens and robots rather than hangers and sales associates. Though one day the ideal shopping experience might not involve human contact, Nordstrom says, “we’re not there yet.”   USAToday.com

What do you think? Do these sound like improvements to you? What changes would you like to see in retail? Let us know, and have a great weekend!

(photo: befitbefabulous.ca)

Retailers Battle Against “Showrooming”

It’s called Showrooming, and it’s becoming an issue. You go into the big box store, looking to buy a Blu-Ray player. You look at the models while the kid in the blue shirt explains the pros and cons of each. So far, so good. Then, you whip out your smartphone and snap a few pics, zap a QR code or two, and do a little online comparison shopping. Ultimately, armed with all of this consumer knowledge, you leave the store, go home, and make your purchase online. So, from Best Buy’s point of view, they are doing all the work while Amazon gets the sale.

So brick-and-mortar stores are getting creative.

Now some big retailers are taking a new approach to the dreaded showrooming by transforming their stores into extensions of their own online operations. Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, the Container Store and other retailers are stepping up efforts to add Web return centers, pickup locations, free shipping outlets, payment booths and even drive-thru customer service centers for online sales to their brick-and-mortar buildings. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Additionally, Wal-Mart is letting people order online, pick up at the store, and pay in cash – which is a surprising chunk of business for them. Meanwhile Sears is introducing drive-thru pickup – and even drive thru returns (if you have ever stood in line at the Service Desk, you know that sounds AWESOME!)

So, what do you think? Are you a Showroomer? (It’s OK – we’re all friends here!) Have you seen any of these new developments at you favorite brick-and-mortar store? Let us know…read the original article…and have a great weekend!

(photo: blog.amaze.com)

Twilight of the Mall?

Malls, over the last 50 years, have gone from the community center in some cities to a relic of the way people once wanted to shop. While malls have faced problems in the past, the Internet is now pulling even more sales away from them. And as retailers crawl out of the worst recession since the advent of malls, many are realizing they are overbuilt and are closing locations at a fast clip. New York Times

Check out these grim statistics:

  • Sears is closing up to 120 stores,
  • Gap is closing 200 stores and
  • Talbots is closing 110.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch closed 50 stores last year,
  • Hot Topic, almost the same number.
  • Chains that have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, like Blockbuster, Anchor Blue, Circuit City and Borders, have left hundreds of stores lying vacant in malls across the country.

What’s going into these empty spaces? Anything and everything! Schools, medical clinics, call centers, government offices, churches, aquariums and auto showrooms. In one one glass-enclosed mall in Cleveland, they’re even planting a vegetable garden!

How about you? Is it the twilight of the mall era? Have your retail habits changed? Let us know!