In Retail, What’s Old Is New

In Retail, What’s Old Is New
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, Simon Porter (pictured below) the managing director of Havas Commerce takes a look at the future of retail, but adds, there’s still plenty of lessons to be had from the past…

We live in a brave new retail world where major corporations develop and control technologies to make our shopping experience easier. A utopian retail future accelerated to the present by technology and the rise of globalisation.

But, really how much has retail changed in the past 200-years?

To paraphrase the American astronomer Carl Sagan, we have to know the past to understand our present and retail future.

On the face of it, retail is simple. People sell goods to others. Arguably society, as we know it, is built on the simplicity of this value exchange.

Now admittedly, retail has taken quantum leaps in the past 20-years driven by aforementioned technology and unrelenting globalisation. But I’d argue the underlying retail principles mirror those of the past couple of centuries when retailing, as we know it took hold.

Let’s take a look at some of our favourite retail ‘trends’ and examine whether they really are new.

Economies of scale

Take the algorithms and artificial intelligence driving the likes of Ocado and Amazon’s warehouses. Truly innovative technology previously unthinkable. But, the principle behind them is the same as Ford’s Model T production line, the supermarket or big box retail. Efficiency, cutting waste, economies of scale.

Buy now pay later

Afterpay is booming. Gen Z’s preferred method of payment. A retail revolution designed by and created for Gen Z. That may come as news to Australians of an earlier vintage who grew up with ‘lay-by’.

Frictionless payment

Amazon Go’s checkout free shopping is revolutionary. Take out the technology though and it’s very similar to my grandparents shopping experience in Croydon back in the 1930s. No payment necessary, it’s all on account.

Personalisation

Talking of my grandparents, back in their day the butcher, baker and local tailor would know you by name and all your preferences. We laud technology that helps retailers tailor preferences to you on a mass scale. But, personalisation is certainly not new and now all a bit impersonal.

Food delivery

Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Hello Fresh – at the forefront of food delivery on demand. Not really that new, when I was growing up the milkman would be delivering every morning with the familiar clank of glass bottles. Let alone when my Grandmother was growing up, one of her first memories, retold to me, was of the butcher delivering their fresh cuts by horse and cart at the end of WW1.

Influencing culture

In the 19th century, department stores like Bloomingdales became fixtures in popular culture, influencing: what people bought and what they felt they needed. In their own ways, power brands of today like: Amazon and Walmart shape culture in much the same way.

Bespoke produce

As counter-culture pushes against globalisation, people look to local curated choices. Field to fork, artisanal, farm fresh. Dress it up however you like but it sounds pretty similar to the way everyone ate before the 1970s. It really is a case of back to the future.

Creating experiences

Every retail expert will tell you creating retail experiences is the key for physical retail survival and I’m certainly not immune. It’s not new though. Stores have never just been about the value exchange of selling goods. They’ve always been at their best with demonstrations, lectures and entertainment events, it’s the basis on which Macys, Selfridges and David Jones were founded.

Many physical retailers are doing an exceptional job but some in the rush to embrace new technology, or protect thin margins, have forgotten their heartland. Retailers that heeded lessons from the past continue to flourish, take the retail experience of Apple stores that baked in demonstrations, lectures and entertainment events – sounds familiar!

Which is why I believe it’s important to constantly strive to analyse the present and predict the retail future, for our clients, by looking to lessons from the past.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Havas Commerce Simon Porter

Latest News

Grill’d Sticks It To Fast Food Giants In New “Trump’d” Campaign
  • Campaigns

Grill’d Sticks It To Fast Food Giants In New “Trump’d” Campaign

Grill’d has launched a new tactical campaign ahead of the upcoming US elections, with the aim of comparing big American fast food giants with Grill’d’s home-grown, healthier approach to burgers. The tongue-in-cheek campaign depicts Donald Trump’s addiction to fast food options, such as McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Dominos, with the words ‘You are what […]

Debunking The Myths: The Environmental Cred Of Print Media
  • Opinion

Debunking The Myths: The Environmental Cred Of Print Media

In this guest post, Dr Phillip Lawrence of Edith Cowan University debunks the myths of the environmental impact of printing… The environmental credentials of printing have been in the spotlight for a while with brands and marketers as well as large corporates regularly proposing they would reduce or eliminate paper and printing from their business as […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Mindshare Snares Kayo’s & Binge’s Media
  • Media

Mindshare Snares Kayo’s & Binge’s Media

The WPP-owned agency Mindshare has revealed it has won the media business for both Kayo and Binge. Both Kayo and Binge form part of Foxtel’s Steamotion’s streaming services and have seen significant boosts to the subscription numbers in recent times, primarily during lockdown. Commenting on the win, Mindshare CEO Katie Rigg-Smith said the win would […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Aussie Tech Firm Launches App To Help Media Owners Find Local Advertisers In Any Location
  • Media

Aussie Tech Firm Launches App To Help Media Owners Find Local Advertisers In Any Location

Realworld, an Australian location-based technology company, today launched adfindr.co, a leads platform for media owners. Adfindr finds the contact details of hundreds of local businesses around any location. Adfindr offers all media owners a database of local advertising leads. Simply type in a location and extract advertising leads in that area. David Sanderson, Director at […]

Time To Fill? Then It’s Time To Will With State Trustees Via Hardhat
  • Campaigns

Time To Fill? Then It’s Time To Will With State Trustees Via Hardhat

The new Online Will from State Trustees has launched with an unexpected campaign via newly appointed creative agency Hardhat, one that aims to turn in between moments into opportunities for action. Having a baby, moving house or exploring some thrilling new hobbies – this colourful, tongue-in-cheek campaign leverages the types of life stages that trigger […]

Imagine Room Revolutionises Immersive Content With Australia’s First Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio
  • Advertising

Imagine Room Revolutionises Immersive Content With Australia’s First Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio

Immersive media company Imagine Room has signed an exclusive agreement with Microsoft to build and operate Australia’s first Mixed Reality Capture Studio to drive the next generation of content production. The state-of-the-art studio uses 106 cameras to create holographic and 3D-video performance assets and create immersive and interactive experiences for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality […]