The Evolution of Retail Environments

Posted Monday, October 28, 2013

The future is not what it used to be!

Retail has always played a vital part in the fabric of society. If you live and breathe Retail like we do- check out this interactive, historical timeline of the top 100 objects that have shaped the evolution of the retail environment from Caveman to Internet Shopper. The “History of Retail in 100 Objects”, developed by The Store WPP and Intel Corporation, is a fascinating read that identifies 100 objects, illustrates it, tells its story, and shares an overview of what its retail impact has been.

The 6 Ages of Retail Evolution
The collection of 100 objects was framed chronologically within five broad time periods, plus some ideas of what object (or technologies) might shape the future of retail. Here are some of the objects highlighted within the periods.

  1. Caveman/Shopper as Hunter Gatherer- humans are hard wired to shop! (well, seek out our needs and wants)
  2. Neolithic Shopper- 8,000 to 2,000 BC: abacus, stone tablet for writing
  3. Early Trading/Money- 2,000 BC to 1600: coins and shells, weighing scales, ledgers, mirror
  4. Industrial Revolution/Mass Production- 1700 to 1900: store signs, sewing machine, elevator, printed catalog, denim, telephone, cash register, Campbell’s Tomato Soup, bottles
  5. 20th & 21st Centuries/Modern Shopping- 1901 to Now: airplane, cloths hanger, aluminum can, bubble wrap, computer, escalator, signage/displays, pallet, barcode, conveyor belt, credit card, QR code, RFID, neon, fork lift truck, internet, refrigeration, shopping cart, smartphone
  6. Future Retail…

In the presentation they also analyzed the future to try and define what objects, not invented or commercialized yet, could change the future of retail and transform the way we shop. Some forms of these are already beginning to surface. No doubt, changes that occur in next 10 years will be greatly faster than the past 50. Technology has progressed to the pace where what we create or build is only limited by our imaginations.

9 Objects that May Affect the Future Face of Retail

  1. Holostores- Holograms or 3-D images in places where shelves don’t exist. Retailers will be able to integrate them as part of the physical store environment. They can be programmed to interact with shoppers.
  2. Personal Flexible Augmented Viewer- A portable, flexible, personal screen that will fold up or be worn comfortably to be used to view content. In-store display screens could be used as promotional flags and banners.
  3. Smart Clothes / Intelligent Fashion- Bio Sensors in garments that can monitor physical and mental state like blood pressure and heart rate. Social sensors could alert you to opportunities in your vicinity.
  4. Intelligent Shelves- Digital graphics placed next to new products that can describe different aspects of the product or communicate information based on consumer data without taking up valuable space on the shelf. For example: if you have a peanut allergy, the shelves would highlight products containing peanuts.
  5. Sentient Stores- Integration of shopper intelligence through sensory feedback. The store will be able to target each individual with offers and guide them through the store environment. Shoppers will be frustration-free, retailers more efficient, and marketing more targeted.
  6. Tran Pak- Packaging with embedded GPS and digital display technology that will know what’s inside and where it should be delivered.
  7. Drones- Intelligent autonomous machines will monitor the environment by reaching places humans cannot, like evaluating stock levels in a warehouse.
  8. Personal 3D Printing- This technology will change the relationship between creators, producers and consumers. Production can exist anywhere, allowing for individualized products, reduced inventory and the need for “print on demand” will grow.
  9. Secret Life of Data- Big data will have a radical effect on the retail environment. From how to use it effectively to enrich the shopping experience to how it applies to the retail supply chain- from production quantities, warehousing, displays and delivery.

The striving for efficiency will be what drives retail supply chains to innovate. How will the retail environment, the physical and visual experience, evolve with the introduction of new technologies and “objects”?

KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group specializes in innovative retail solutions that help retailers and consumer brands drive sales at the point-of-purchase. From POP Printing, Retail Environments, Merchandising Displays and Branded Promotional Items to Online Technology, put our industry expertise to work for you. Contact us Today! 

Tags: 3D printing , big data , KDM Technology Solutions

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