The ever-insightful team at global digital utility specialist Nurun is publishing a useful trend report on the future of retail called, appropriately enough, The Future of Retail.

As interviewees, we got our hands on an advance copy.  Contact Nurun’s Toronto team direct for the full report, and/or subscribe to their future of retail email list and blog; but here’s what you need to know…

Six trends are shaping the future of retail, many with a social angle

  • The Socialisation of Retail (Social Product Discovery, Consideration and Evaluation). Social influence has a major impact on what we buy, and new retail technology helps retailers harness this. From social recommender systems to social window shopping sites such as Pinterest
  • PR with Sales (product placement morphs into content and commerce). The tried and tested PR strategy of sending new merchandise to editors and journalists in the hope they’ll mention, discuss, or review it is being taken in-house. Retailers such as Gilt Groupe and Zappos are becoming content creators, producing magazines to promote their wares
  • Integrated Omnichannel In other words, ‘have it your way commerce’ offering a seamless experience between the silos formally known as channels. So shop online in-store (via mobile) or shop in-store (store-feeds) and pick up anywhere at home, in-store or at-work.
  • Global Reach, Local Appeal (The New Geography of Merchandising) Smart retailers are using e-commerce to move beyond national and regional boundaries, but are also tailoring what they sell to local markets.  Columbia Sportswear has recently begun initiatives to localize site messaging, product assortment, pricing and promotions (Florletta, 2012)
  • Privacy/Value Tradeoff Consumers value their privacy, and they value deals. Smart retailers are getting the balance right, offering more value to consumers who are willing to trade their privacy for deals
  • Sophisticated Frugality Smart retailers are helping consumers get a bigger bang for their buck, not necessarily by dropping prices, but through private label options, bonuses and preferential terms.  Demand-led pricing and volume pricing (with consumers clubbing together to buy in bulk) are also helping consumers shop smarter