future of retail: decentralized, personal and on demand

How should modern retail see itself from a long term perspective? What should it aim for? Well, first of all it’s important to realise that the future consumer and customer is going to occupy 90% of what is now the retail marketplace – they already are “the informer agents” and “promoters” of future products and services. This is the first major trend that is shaping the future market and, honestly, retail as it is now has to go through a transformation in order to not simply disappear as a business.

So the future of retail is not a matter of retail’s choice (there is none) – it’s a matter of retail’s survival instincts kicking in. What should it do right now, and keep doing, in the next 10 years to prevent it’s business extinction and secure its place in the ecosystem of moving products and services? Because if retail breaks up in the future, the main beneficiary will be the consumer and customer. And from the point of view of consumer society,  it would be only fair – consumers’ contribution to the promotion of products and services is huge today, far more than 10-20 years ago before the digital era.

The second major trend comes from the other side, the side we rarely pay attention to – the producers; the deep end of prototyping and production of both goods and digital services. As is the case with, for example, IT technologies related to communication, these are the things we actually simply  react to rather than predict, no matter how much we’d like to think otherwise.

You can think about the two trends like this – the first one is like looking at a smartphone and thinking what it will become in 10 years, what it will transform into in order to increase efficiency for the user (glasses, perhaps). The second trend is like looking at a tool, a means of production. What are the means of production now and what will they be in the future? What’s the interrelatedness of these means of production and what are the ways they increase their efficiency?

So, if we look into production we see a change of technological paradigm with various vector events related to changes in development, research, prototyping and final production of goods and services. However, regardless of the forms and formats of change, there is one general trend – decentralisation.

Fragmentation of production of both tangible and digital products and services is already happening; in the digital marketplace, which is always at least five years ahead of others, this trend is the most obvious. On the one hand, entertainment and information content, movies, music, their distribution and providing of services have been centralised. We all use those centralised platforms on our phones and smart TVs every day. On the other hand, we are witnessing a strong decentralisation trend. The number of people physically involved in the production of a computer or mobile game, a music track, a show or a movie, is growing due to a growing segment of “creators” who, until recently, were considered consumers and non-professional producers.

In the example of games, people who 10-15 years ago were just diehard RPG game fans, today (given their increased programming knowledge and IT literacy) are a new generation of professional consumers who participate in the production, the modification, and the evolution of any game that comes to the market – from prototyping to distribution. Simply put, in the near future, any product fan, any enlightened consumer in any field, any category of goods and services will become a co-producer in the early stages of prototyping, production, distribution and further evolution of a product or a service. And, thanks to the digital transparency of the information space, they will be the main market specialist for the given product or service.

This is why now is the best time for retail to start looking into ways to transform their business and involve the consumer. We at eyezon take a long view of the market and the world. That’s why we created a complex sandbox tool that helps transform business models. eyezon has limitless usage scenarios with direct one to one live connection at its core. One of them is direct live connection between the production and the consumer, on the retailer’s platform. How awesome right? In our next post we will tell you more about how eyezon can help retail right now and in the long perspective, so stay tuned.