Over the pages of this Dimension Report we've recognised the contribution made by strategic and innovative retailers to the way we shop today. But as the retailers that appear in this report will be the first to recognise, this is not to say retailing is in any way ‘complete’, that we have somehow reached a ‘finished’ state.
Rather, the planning for an uncertain future continues. Change is now the default state in retail, something traders, whether retailers or brands selling goods direct, know only too well. The pace of change is getting ever faster, and the sheer number of factors driving that change is growing quickly. Today’s merchants, for example, must start to consider what the internet of things will mean both for the products they sell and the way these products are sold. Exactly how retail will develop under this influence is as yet unclear – but it is likely that retailers that set the pace with thoughtful and insightful innovation, reflecting the changing way that shoppers want to buy, will be most likely to influence the future direction of travel.
But while new leftfield developments may seem to come from nowhere, in truth such sudden emergences belie a great deal of behind-the-scenes planning. Now is a great time to be a retail strategist. Customers are perhaps more open than ever to experimenting and fast-emerging new technologies can support new ways of doing things. The conditions for driving change and implementing new ideas have rarely been better. To quote a well-known shoe brand, just do it.