2020 Retail Part 3: The importance of now

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In part three of our four part '2020 Retail: What's the future' series, we look at how we no longer function within the constraints of time and space.

Shoppers can now get (and expect to be able to get) what they want, when and how they want it. The shopper’s experience is no longer a linear narrative happening at specific touchpoints but a flexible journey, offering freedom and customisation. Value is now placed in buying time, rather than goods. Make time for your family? How about buying time for your family? The proliferation of on-demand services has brought the immediacy of now to the customers’ experiences. Mastering space and time allows customers to choose what they want… and forget about the rest.

According to Euromonitor, 70% of affluent Indians aged 18-35 agree that luxury related to how much free time one enjoyed, rather than an individual’s purchasing power.

Millennials’ demand for instant gratification is driving/being driven by a ‘one click, swipe or poke mentality’.  Even when ordering online they crave immediacy. Millennials are twice as likely to pick up online groceries on the same day as purchase, whilst almost half of them will pay higher for same day delivery.

As the concept of waiting becomes a distant memory, attention spans will deteriorate. So, from a commercial perspective, goods and services will increasingly need to be instantly available.  We’ve moved from 5-day to 3- to 1- to same-day delivery, from charged to free. How could free, same-day delivery be improved upon? What might lie ahead?

Perhaps not for the first (or last time), it looks like it’ll be Amazon that gets to that answer first. According to Future Laboratory’s Victoria Buchanan:

“The idea of pre-emptive retail is gaining traction and Amazon is already planning for this. Anticipatory shopping using data and analytics could send something to you before you’ve ordered it – if they crack it, you could get your product before you knew you needed it.” 

And that’s not all. If you don’t need what they think you need, you’ll be able to send it straight back (probably by return drone) and Amazon will then credit you with an online cash reward as their way of saying sorry for the inconvenience and, well, having got it wrong. The connected shopper will shape the future of retail.

Read more from our 2020 Retail: What's the future series: 


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What's the Future?