20-Plus Things to Watch in Retail, Part 1
4. Click-and-collect shopping. “Click and collect” shopping enables customers to order online and then pick up the goods at a store nearby. The report found that while many grocery retailers offer this service in Europe, only a few U.S. supermarkets are testing the waters, including Ahold’s Peapod. The report predicted that this type of digital-to-physical hybrid model will expand to more categories, including luxury. Burberry, for example, plans to expand the click-and-collect service it's been testing, according to the report.
5. Clockless day. Today's consumers want to continue with their lives 24/7, whether it’s eating, shopping, exercising, working, etc. Retailers are expected to cater to those expectations and upside-down schedules, the report said. Macy's and Toys"R"Us, for example, were open around the clock for at least two days leading up to Christmas 2012.
6. Cutting out the middle man. The success of vertically integrated e-commerce players like Warby Parker (eyeglasses), Dollar Shave Club ($1 razor blades), Stella & Dot (jewelry) and Bonobos (menswear) will spur a host of new niche brands that cut out middlemen and sell quality products online at below-market rates, the report forecasts. We’ll see a range of direct-to-consumer upstart challengers as the model extends to more categories, from office supplies (Poppin) to bedding (Crane & Canopy).
7. Decline of Chinese bling. Chinese luxury buyers are moving away from overt displays of wealth and opting for more understated luxury goods and products not intended for public display (e.g., pricey housewares), the report pointed out. Warnaco Group Chief Executive Helen McCluskey has cited designer underwear as an “undeveloped category” in China, the report says.
8. Delivery lockers. Retailers are starting to deploy delivery lockers that enable customers to pick up online orders from nearby locations at convenient times, the report said. The goal is to eliminate consumer barriers to e-commerce and avoid the costs associated with missed deliveries. Amazon.com customers in certain cities can pick up their purchases from lockers located in 7-Eleven stores, chain drugstores and Staples outlets. They can also use the lockers to drop off goods they want to return.
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.