The retail industry continues to change as consumer demands inevitably and constantly fluctuate.
With the advent of new technology and integration of platforms across the retail world at large, many aspects of the industry are no longer what they were 10 years ago.
Beginning in the early 20th century, a commitment to efficiency and convenience dominated the retail industry. The next big trend was self-service retailing: retailers became more focused on supplying a product and less interested in building relationships with shoppers. Finally, within the last few decades, a new business model emerged. Retailers began promoting items in order to sell them – collecting profits from promotional funds from suppliers.
Much of the retail industry is still living with advancements made in the last 50 years. The continued developments in technology, combined with the impact and opportunity that electronic communication provides, has changed the retail world once again. Inefficiencies are being discovered, solved and analyzed with data collection tools and platforms.
Armed with aggregated, clean data, retailers and brands are shifting focus from quantity to quality. This change is referred to as the Third Wave of Retail. Previously, the majority of retail strategy surrounded the idea of keeping prices low – to attract more customers – at the expense of high-quality products.
As a growing number of brands work to increase efficiency, improve quality, and add the ever-important element of customer service, a step up in software tools and platforms has also become mandatory.