What Will Retail Look Like in a Decade?

According to a wealth of research conducted by Shop.org, they believe that the retail store of the future (or at least in ten years) will look vastly different from today’s brick-and-mortars.


For retailers to remain viable in the future, they need to become innovators and leaders in four distinct areas of their business – customer experience, brand, operations, and administration.

From the article:

Successful retailers in the future will be customer-led. Many retailers today are organized around what is essentially a 20th century operation while trying to serve the 21st century customer. In many cases, internal merchandising teams are divided by channel, marketing teams are carved into areas that ultimately create disparate views of the same customer, IT departments focus on managing risk rather than the impact to the customer, and a digital division is too often silo-ed itself. Going forward, retailers must organize all operations around the customer first – an objective that will take time, resources, investment, flexibility and patience. Nordstrom is one retailer which serves as a prime example of an evolving, customer-led organization.

10 years of “bridge” strategies ahead. Becoming a customer-led organization won’t happen overnight – nor should it. Over the next 10 years, retailers should spend time assessing competencies, shifting and integrating current teams, revising titles and roles at all levels and the talent needed for those, setting and re-setting objectives and incentives, and putting systems and processes in place to develop the organizational structure that is “right” for them. Bridge strategies will be a key – this set of measures will help retailers move from one organizational evolutionary stage to the next while keeping the business growing. One example of this is that several organizations have announced “omnichannel” titles and divisions in the past year, an important bridge step to move the organization forward for now. But this should not be confused with the future retail organization where omnichannel is not a structure but rather a characteristic and philosophy embedded in the organization overall.