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Back to the future of retail

In the last 10 years retail has changed more than in the last 100 years. Of course no one could have predicted Covid, but some of the technological advances where already in the making. The question is, could retailers have been better prepared for the change in consumer behaviour? And, will we be better prepared for the next 10 years?

The year is 2012, February the 3rd, I was prepping for a “Futures of Retail” presentation for a hall full of retailers and shopping centre owners. Online spending was $12.8 Billion, mobile was around but showrooming dominated conversations – some retailers considered banning mobile phones in-store! Moreover, the race for digital transactions was on and social media platforms were still emerging. T-commerce was a term (Tablet Commerce), and mobile commerce was only just hitting the big time.

Here’s a look back at some of the key concepts…..

Ecommerce and Omnichannel

Amazon was making its mark. As a first mover it dominated the internet and retailers were beginning to realise the potential impact. Moreover, Ecommerce plug-and-play platforms were emerging, and retailers were beginning to look at “off-the-shelf” technology to provide better customer experiences. Providing omnichannel solutions was (and still is) a buzz word. John Lewis’ were one of the first to offer what they deemed as an omnichannel solution; terminals were installed in John Lewis stores so that partners could assist shoppers with online purchases. Shoppers in John Lewis stores were encouraged through signage and later through QR code links to go online for information on extra product ranges, stock availability etc.

Focus on Mobile Commerce

Most brands were just starting to look at mobile as an opportunity, many didn’t have mobile optimised sites, and the few that did had a separate m-site (yes, two separate sites for your desktop and mobile – imagine?)
An extract from Forster – According to Forrester, there is evidence that applications and mobile sites do work, ‘consumers in Australia purchase an item every four seconds in Australia through eBay’s mobile apps’.Online retailers have been paying so much attention to getting online the traditional way, that the new methods of reaching the customer are passing by unnoticed.

IMAGE: Kmarts mobile site 2012

Personalisation is key

Personalistion was the hype both from a data perspective and a retailing perspective. Companies like Shoes of Prey had hit the market and retailers were increasingly looking at ways they could use technology to personalise both marketing and product.

Fast forward 10 years

To read more into the next 10 years, continue on the retail world September Issue, Page 24-25.


Kelly Slessor, is an Ecommerce Coach and a digital marketing expert. Passionate about retail, hospitality and retail service providers. As the founder and CEO of Shop You, an AI powered personalised virtual shopping mall she has spent 20 years building retail technology that responds to customer needs, drives conversions and increases revenue. Over the past year she has worked with over 1000 retailers and hospitality providers. If you want discover more about digital growth and optimisation, work with me.

Kelly Slessor

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