Monday, April 19, 2010

The "un-storing" of retail

With all new possibilities of making connections between seller and buyer it will be harder to define what retail is and is not, a well as it will be more difficult to define the word "store". The "un-storing" of retail implies that transactions move out from the traditional retail spaces and that we will see new

Just look at what retail has become in terms of channels:

The traditional internet retailing - Amazon et al. Beeing around for more than a decade it is fair to call it traditional though many retailers haven´t gone on-line yet. The combination between physical stores and internet retailer used to be the definition of multichannel retailing.

C2C - Consumer-to-consumer business ie consumers making connections outside the reach of retailers - like on eBay for example.

Facebook and other social media sites offering possibilities to set up an internet store within the community. The arena of social media makes it possible to connect in a more relaxed manner since the world of social media is much more personal by definition. The retailer could be considered a friend among other on-line buddies.

The Pop-Up Retailing trend might have reached its peak but will noless be a part of the retail arsenal for the years to come. Originally a way to create buzz around a fashion brand by popping up for a limited period of time, days, weeks on as long a as a month and then suddenly disappear and move to another location, pop-ups have been an alternative for several retailers during the US recession to build temporary stores in malls where empty space has been created as retailers have gone bankrupt. Pop-up is a way for brands to come out to the people that normally not will seek the brand for themselves, and to meet the target audience in places not normally associated with the brand. We will probably see more creative ways to package the pop-ups than we have seen so far as this channel matures and needs differentiation.

Instore kiosks will make it possible for retailers to appear in small spaces with a limited range, but still offer the entire range at the push of a button. As shown in the clip above, instore kiosks can also get the information provided to a customer up to a whole other level.

Service providers going in to a retail-like environment will be likely to risen sharply. This is beacuse that in a store it is easier to create a friendly and non-threatening ahmosphere than in a traditional bank for example, where the counters almost looks like a judges stand. The above picture shows a Danish bank going in to the caffee-business. Several banks have gone in this direction and others will follow.

Vending machines is another way of popping-up and have been covered in several places on Retailomania like here and here and this is an old way of selling that has gotten a new and more glamorous life in recent years.

There are several situations when you don´t want to get out of the car. Having a cold in the middle of winter for example. Drive-through retail are likely to rise as servicedemand get higher.

Joint ventures and partherships on hotels, spas or the gym, where people are in a relaxed mood are likely to be targeted by shop-in-shop operators.

The channel development trends will be cruical to follow in order to stay ahead of development.o