The New York Times: Imagining your #Retail Store of the Future

What will the store of the future look like?

Will we be served by fleets of gleaming robots, using built-in facial recognition technology to adjust each sales pitch to a person’s current mood or past spending preferences?

Will there be voice-activated personal assistants, downloading the availability, color and fit of any and every garment to your smartphone?

Three-D printing stations?

No checkout counters when you leave?

Could there even be floating, holographic product displays on the shop floor that change when a customer walks by?

Perhaps shoppers will make all their purchases from their own home, using virtual fitting rooms via virtual reality headsets. Drones will then drop deliveries in the backyard or on the front steps

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Where Have All the Shop Clerks Gone?


We often talk about software and robots taking over jobs and eliminating the need for human labor.

It’s common to hear these concerns center around jobs in factories, or in the trucking and taxi industries. Some of these changes may be far in the distance, or may not come about at all due to social and cultural resistance (and the fact that sometimes sci-fi-tinged ideas just don’t come to fruition). In fact, there are lots of jobs open in areas that you would think would be negatively affected by automation. For example, 364,000 manufacturing jobs were open in the U.S.  at the end of February 2017, up 58,000, or 18.9 percent, from a year earlier.

But the reality is that machines — in the form of software, e-commerce platforms, and payment systems — are already destroying jobs in one massive sector: retail.

Retail sales are rising in the United States — up 5.3 percent in February 2017 from the year before. And overall, the U.S. labor market is in very good shape, with unemployment at 4.5 percent and 78 straight months of job growth.

The monthly JOLTS report shows there were an impressive 5.74 million jobs open in the U.S. at the end of February. However, the job market in the retail sector is behaving as it would only in times of recession, when retail sales are falling, or when the labor market is weak. In March, when the economy at large added 98,000 payroll jobs, the vast retail trade sector lost 29,000 positions. In February, 30,900 retail jobs were cut. In fact, retail employment is off in four of the past six months, and the sector employed fewer people in March 2017 than in it did in August 2016. According to the JOLTS report, the number of open jobs in retail has fallen significantly over the past year, from 612,000 in February 2016 to 542,000 in February 2017 — a decline of 70,000, or 11 percent

Read all: Where Have All the Shop Clerks Gone?

Roland Berger: Reinventing fashion #retail (2015) 


Stationary fashion retailers are not meeting their customer’s needs according to our recent study Reinventing Retail.

This is just one of the contributing factors in the ever increasing trend towards online shopping.

More than 5000 people were surveyed for the study, with almost one fifth revealing they turn to the internet when it comes to shopping for the latest fashions.

Furthermore, at least half of shoppers say their needs are not being met by visiting physical stores to make their purchases.

At least one in ten stationary shoppers indicated they plan to do more of their shopping online in the near future.

It is clear good service has not lost its shine, with 62 percent of shoppers saying they have on at least one occasion spontaneously spent more than they had planned, after receiving friendly and helpful service in a store. The study reveals five insights into the digital change (read the paper)