The pace of change in retail is accelerating. Disruption is happening faster and at multiple levels. Sometimes, it’s difficult to predict the change.
Retail today is channel agnostic, borderless, in an omnichannel world. The consumer is also an evolved entity. Connected, aware, savvy, consumers today look for an immersive shopping experience that seamlessly spans the physical and the virtual, engaging in a dialogue with their peers on social media and other communication devices that demands instantaneous, real-time responses from retailers.
The newest generation of aware consumers, called the millennials are calling the shots, along with their older counterparts (called generation X), especially in regions like the Middle East where the demographic is weighted in favour of the youth. This demographic looks for social spaces beyond social media. They like soaking in the ambience of stores and tasting new cuisines in restaurants. They like their brands but are not loyal to them, preferring to experiment, seeking value-for-money propositions even if they have the lucre, which creates a dilemma for retailers.