The future of retail will be driven by four factors, consumer behavior, technology innovations, demographic changes and economic conditions.How will the retail world look in 2020? A new report from IBM and New York Universities Stern School of Business called “Retail 2020: Reinventing Retail Once Again”, gives us some insight. The future of retail will be driven by four factors, consumer behavior, technology innovations, demographic changes and economic conditions and according to the report could lead to e-commerce sales at $500 billion in the U.S. by 2020, up from $200 billion today. A tip for retailers? Be flexible and bend to the needs of the consumer, because they will be “…calling many of the shots. The Internet has provided transparency, information and options that enable consumers to shift demand rapidly to retailers and brands they prefer.” The report further suggests that retailers quickly prepare to: - Build and maintain a compelling brand of their own—not just sell other brands. - Reduce retail space in their portfolio—as sales shift online. - Make shopping easier—think pop-up shops, kiosks, mobile. - Increase relevancy by communicating with individual customers. - Be a low-cost operator. - Integrate analytics and location-based technology to invent new ways to serve customers. - Invest in and train store associates so they can add to the shopping experience. The Lempert Report predicts online brands such as Amazon and Google, creating new and aggressive opportunities for themselves so retailers will need to make sure their own strategies stay relevant. Furthermore, we believe merchants will have to meet Millennials where they’ll be in seven short years—caring not only for their developing families, but also for many of their aging Boomer parents.