The future of retail – what fundamentally changed in the last decades

I recently talked at a TEDx salon about the future of retail shopping. In preparation of the talk I was wondering about a very simple question I wanted to answer in the presentation: what was the biggest change for the retail merchants in the last two decades?

Ok, “online” is the obvious, yet easy answer. And I think it’s too simple to answer what happened and will happen with the retail domain. I think what really changed (dramatically) is the playground the merchants act in.

The internet made something possible which wasn’t even imaginable two decades ago. It cracked up a playground that was until then very well defined and slowly moving. The stakes in the high streets and city centres were set and the retailers had their business. Changes of property happened just once in a while. Players entering or leaving the market were pretty rare.



Brick and mortar is not dead yet

I originally posted this article on back in march 2013. Interestingly the message and facts didn’t change at all. So I thought it’s worth getting it over here and rework it.

Lately there seems to be a lot of discussion around the death of the physical retail store. Some prophets are saying that e-commerce will eat them all.

Sorry, but I don’t agree here. In my opinion e-commerce is “just” another game changer for retail merchants. Ok, a huge and fast one. But back in history there was always some gamechanger in retail and with it always the vision of retail doomsday of some sort. Mailorder was there to destroy local retailers. TV shopping also. Discount as well. The huge malls were the prediction of small shops going down. And so on. Make some research yourself.