In a recent article published by Transworld Business, Jeff Harbaugh a consultant who has been analyzing “omnichannel” strategy gives his opinion on the evolution of marketing and the future of the retail model. Harbaugh states, brands today almost need to run two companies in order to sell to both millennials (born 1982-2000) and baby boomers (born 1946-1964). Though obviously there is some overlap, today you probably can’t sell the same product lines to both groups. The two generations shop, get their information, are influenced and have different expectations with brands. This difference affects all parts of the supply chain and today retailers are struggling to cope.
Read below on what Jeff Harbaugh thinks is going to happen within retail:
• Retail space is going to contract.
• Malls (with the exception of the high end ones I’m told) will be in trouble. Fewer people are visiting them. They will spend less. This is a slippery slope. Lower traffic means fewer sales which mean some stores close, which means lower traffic which means more stores close.
• Advances in robotics and technologies like 3D printing means that more product can be customized in a short time scale.
• Online/mobile generated sales will continue to grow (duh) energized by our logistics capabilities that get product to (and from) consumers quicker.
• Inventory requirements for retailers will decline as will the square feet needed for physical stores.
• Real product differentiation will continue to be hard to achieve. Making a product at least occasionally hard to find will matter.