Speaking as part of the Marketing Agencies Association tRetail (Transformation Retail) initiative, eight major brands were tasked with answering four questions about what the future of retail meant for them.
Where do you think is the biggest opportunity for retail in the coming years?
For Tesco consultant Paul Morris, the transformation of business culture to remain agile was the biggest opportunity, which he said was tough for legacy businesses such as retail. Comparatively, Not On The High Street’s Ben Carter believed that data was the biggest opportunity for retailers.
What areas will see the most transformation?
Intel’s Elaine Cook, strategic marketing for internet of things, unsurprisingly also chose data but as the area she thought would see the most transformation. She argued that it's only recently that retailers have had the tools to properly analyse customer data. Argos’ head of transformation Jonathan Inkson said there would be a greater shift to multichannel, with less of a divide between the pure-play retailers and high street retailers.
Where can agencies add the most value?
EE’s former head of communications for retail marketing Caroline Welsh, argued that agencies needed to better understand what it is like to be a shopper and Disney’s VP and general manager of retail Mike Stagg agreed, arguing that agencies needed to help brands understand consumer behaviour.
Will the physical retail space continue to survive?
Digital beheamoth Google stepped in to argue the future for physical retail, via its business leader Pete Danks. He said that the physical store would continue but not in the way it currently looks. Argos’ Inkson defended the case for physical retail as, he said, people will want to touch and try items. He also suggested that physical stores had become more important as people want to pick up items instantly, rather than wait for delivery at home.