There are a number of increasingly discussed gaps between retail and reality that are becoming more common at an alarming rate. The knowledge gap between technology, the internet and bricks and mortar stores is at the heart of these discussions. The occasional conversation is now frequent and tends to cover recurring questions and themes:
Why are stores the same as they were 20, 30, 40 years ago?
Why does Retailer X think an iPad is the correct technology in an ambiently busy store?
Why does retailer Y have the internet on its screen in-store?
If you are a retailer reading this and who does this please stop reading and contact me now. This really is curable. You should seek immediate advice. For others read on.
The questions are straightforward yet worrying too when you realise the massive importance of retail in the UK. As a sector retail is employing 1 out of every 9 UK workers and generating TO equivalent to 20% of the UK GDP equivalent to being the 6th largest retail economy of the planet (BIS 2012, 2013).
The worry only increases as we witness the failure of retail to respond to the multi-channel challenge delivered by the expansion of the internet from desktop to mobile. More challenges are yet to come as we see whole demographic cohorts who have been born and raised on the internet and mobile let loose into the commerce world with money of their own. Yes, the GenZers are coming which really means that those individuals 21 or younger now have disposable income.
My plan is to work together with a group of like-minded individuals at www.swarm.group. 'Like-minded people' means those who have a passion to disrupt in the right way. 'Individuals' are those who have the skillset to help retailers navigate the choppy waters of digital transformation. 'The work' will deliver a thoroughly researched review of retails components. In our words, we will science the s*** out of retail in an effort to deliver simple real-world applications based on bread research carried out by real people in the real world.
Our first microscopic review is the fitting room. We will science the s*** out of the fitting room and report back shortly. Let the games begin.