How retail will run in 2025

June 12, 2014

To help ready the trade for new demands in the next decade, FMI debuts Retail Experience of the Future.

At this week’s FMI Connect, the Food Marketing Institute and select industry partners aim to prepare retailers and CPG for a future in which:

  • Stores will become emotional destinations
  • The store floor will become a “hyper showroom” to help shoppers become smarter consumers
  • Stores will enable micro-personalization on a macro-scale
  • Retail’s role in its shoppers’ well-being will increase
  • The store’s environment will become highly responsive
  • Store associates will become shopper advocates
  • Technology will enable the experience without interrupting it

These predictions are part of an ambitious platform called Retail Experience of the Future (RETF).  Its goal: inspire operators to innovate towards the year 2025.  The RETF Exhibit will be in Booth 3905 of McCormick Place.  Its theater will host presentations throughout June 11 and 12 by many of FMI’s sponsor partners. The sponsors include:  American Express, Coca-Cola, SAP, Hershey,, Hussmann, MyWebGrocer, PwC and Tesser.

RETF, says FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin, is “an informed observation of where consumer culture, food, marketing and technology are headed – and what that may mean for the food retail industry in the future.” 

For example, Randy Edeker, chairman, president and CEO, Hy-Vee Food Stores, and FMI Connect chairman, notes “a one-size-fits-all grocery experience won’t set you up for success in the future” because customers seek “a more personalized experience.” Between technology and better training of store associates, retailers “can help to create a new level of customer service and customer advocacy that can be a game changer.”

Research done for RETF shows traditional grocers will be the “go-to” spot for 83% of consumers in the foreseeable future.  Yet the mix will become more male, older and ethnic – and Millennials will outspend Boomers on food and beverage by 2020.  Also, health and wellness, and convenience and immediacy, will become key priorities.  These are just some potential changes.

The Lempert Report expects RETF’s provocative “what if” questions to prompt the most innovations in decade ahead.  Among them: What if customers could personalize their shopping experiences?  What if stores could transform through better technology and store design to account for dayparts, seasonality, promotional periods and traffic patterns?  What if shoppers could engage with products – touch, see, smell and test them through augmented reality technologies, live demos, teaching events, and displays?  What if checkout was frictionless?

How ready will retailers and CPG be for the very different shopping world of 2025? That answer hinges largely on how they respond to the forecasts and thought leadership presented at FMI Connect this week.