Key Trends trends supporting omni-retail which will have greater impact in 2014 and beyond …

  • Smartphone Apps: the best retailers now offer apps that offer a wide variety of information that help shoppers shop where and when they want and in the smartest way. A good example is Walgreen’s one-stop app. This allows customers to find retail locations, renew prescriptions, create alerts for taking personal medication and making appointments at clinics. The app delivers coupons and can be used to create shopping lists. A Walgreen’s presentation said that customers who engaged with the brand in-store, on-line and through mobile spent an average x6 more than those who only visit stores.
  • Responsive Design: with shoppers accessing retailer content across multiple devices, it is critical that the content is surfaced in the best possible way from a single set of code. In short, that it is readable no matter what device the customer is using. With the plethora of platforms now available, retailers find this challenging and few are really coping with how to deliver this. One of the few retailers in the UK to use responsive design is Currys Most of the other top digital retailers still have separate web and mobile sites and because of the investments they’ve made it is unlikely that they will change quickly.
  • Adaptive Messaging: personalisation of content and messaging is not new news. But the sophistication of analytics to do this is increasing fast.  This is the era of Big Data – a not very helpful term for what is essentially smart data that marries what people do with what people think. Not done yet really well but in the future adaptive messaging will deliver more relevant content dependent on what device I’m shopping on and where my location is.
  • Social Commerce: this still hasn’t taken off big-time but it is true that niche players are finding that transactional capability can be driven through social media platforms such as Facebook. Target for example brings together social and mobile to create highly personalised offers. Urban Outfitters has built a social media-based loyalty programme that’s winning plaudits.
  • Anytime, Anywhere Collection: more retailers and delivery services are now looking for more collection points beyond just the home and store. This means that there should never be a reason not to click and collect in the future.  In London, we’ll soon see collection points at tube stations for example as well as being able to collect from newsagents and corner shops which are an increasingly popular point of collection because of their long opening hours.
  • Fixing the Rollercoaster: when anyone shops across the customer journey there are positive and negative experiences. This is known as the Rollercoaster affect. Sometimes customers put up with the negatives because they’re outweighed by the positives. Some times they don’t. Understanding the Rollercoaster allows retailers to iron out some of the troughs. Sometimes this can be done by  pointing the customer to the best channel for their needs.
  • We’re reaching a point where learning and education through digital channels is reaching a critical mass. Tools can now make it an immersive truly interactive experience that goes beyond just brochure-ware on a web-site. Kids and young people can learn on-the-go and on-the-job through their movie phone as well as at home. This will have significant consequences and open up new opportunities to for a variety of organisations and businesses who complain too much about young people not being prepared for employment. well now they can help them prepare.

and on a wider front …

  • The internet of things, where everything will be connected and measured is in its formative stage but will be a major growth area allowing the creation of all sorts of micro-products and applications using open-source technologies that will stimulate a rash of new specialist start-ups
  • Co-creation and collaboration is the way forward rather than people hiding their ideas and being afraid that they’ll be stolen. London in particular is well-placed and already has many avenues that will foster this sharing mentality and open innovation. There is now a good mix of government, independent and corporate bodies who are creating ecosystems that help true innovation move forward
  • Fewer people are interested in the corporate world. The brightest will want to do their own thing and not get sucked into the gloomy world of corporations. The UK isn’t quite there yet as there is still a lot more to be done by banks, government and businesses to incubate ideas and talent but it’s getting better
  • The power of rapid and agile iteration to develop and test ideas and products is taking hold in more organisations as a fundamental tenet of good business.


Graham Thomas
Digital Economy Director

January 2014