Foresight Factory Trend Analysts have delved into the challenges facing a number of key sectors as we enter 2018, including financial services, food, and travel. They have scrutinised our newest consumer data and along with their expertise in trends, selected five key actions for each industry. In this series, we are covering four industries from the 15 available on our platform FFonline, where each post will focus on one key strategy for the year to come.

In 2018, retailers face a multitude of challenges. Consumers have more freedom in how they shop than ever before, with the one-click generation expecting unparalleled convenience in their retail habits. And retailers are competing not only to provide the most flexible and convenient path to purchase, but also to provide an engaging and continually refreshed shopping experience. Which strategies can brands employ to counter this?

 

Create flexible retail spaces

Bricks-and-mortar retail still retains many benefits over its online counterpart, allowing consumers to directly interact with products and sales staff. However, the relative inflexibility of traditional selling spaces – fixed locations, interiors and schedules – can limit their appeal. Modular and reusable retail infrastructure provide a solution to this. Brands are able to quickly and easily set up small or pop-up outlets in a wider range of locations, while permanent stores can refresh offerings on a continual basis.

Behind this is one of our newest trends, The Shoppable Universe, where beyond omnichannel is a horizon of limitless retail. No longer confined to traditional stores, opportunities for POS is spilling into a multitude of spaces, into restaurants, yoga studios and hotels. More, we see that the impact of friends’ recommendations and influencers’ choices is heightened when shoppers can buy directly from social media platforms.

Take inspiration from co-working space WeWork. The company is making a move into retail and plans to create furnished spaces on short-term leases that can be modified to suit individual retailers. The retail spaces would function both as amenities for office tenants and also retail opportunities for passers-by. While e-commerce is on the rise, 76% of global consumers go shopping in a shopping area or shopping centre at least once a month. The demand for an innovative retail experience is still high.

 

What’s the impact?

Brands will benefit from having a retail presence in unexpected spaces, increasing visibility without the associated cost of a bricks-and-mortar store. For established retailers, an ever-rotating selection of new, innovative brands provides consumers fresh incentive to visit traditional bricks-and-mortar spaces.