TBWA report tables how the retail industry can survive beyond COVID

TBWA\Worldwide’s cultural intelligence unit, Backslash, has released a report on the future of the global retail sector, highlighting how to unlock opportunities in the COVID-disrupted industry.

The report is the second in Backlash’s ‘Future Of’ series, with the latest report exploring the the most urgent questions facing retail businesses, after the industry saw an accelerated shift towards e-commerce during the pandemic.

Renata Yannoulis, a strategist at TBWA\Sydney, who contributed to the report said: “As we enter the next roaring ‘20s era, the retail industry is being forced swiftly into its next iteration. Sharp pivots are required for brands to meet the new consumer mindset, that continue to shift at a faster pace than ever before.”

While a report from Nasdaq predicts 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040, 71% of consumers say that purchasing in store is still their preference. The report looks why eradicating in-store shopping may not be the answer, and how the relationship with the in-store experience is changing.

The report highlights the four opportunities, which includes:
1. Flex Retail: A new era of retail requires physical spaces that serve a purpose beyond shopping. The stores of the future will revitalise cities, uplift local communities, and promote circularity.

2. Retail’s Tech Tightrope: Next-gen retail technology will work behind the scenes to enable a seamless shopping experience. Companies can choose a more meaningful way forward through phantom tech, intelligent ordering, and sensory stores.

3. Networked Commerce: To survive increasingly communal commerce, brands will need to make everyone in their network an active player. Tomorrow’s retailers will strengthen relationships by engaging in direct dialogue, pivoting from influencers to educators.

4. Lifecycle Luxury: A richer kind of luxury will put product life cycles in centre focus. Looking forward, upscale eco-materials, authenticity trackers, and functionality will define the new premium.

Yannoulis added: “This report was born from months of research, observation, ideation and collaboration amongst our global network of spotters and specialists, to provide a rounded and truly global perspective on the future state of the category. The four growth opportunities within this report confront the cultural tensions at play, and offer tactical solutions and provocations for brands to harness now, and into the future.”

During an online presentation regarding the report this morning, Yannoulis highlighted some of the key ways Australian brands are interacting with consumers, in particular citing sustainability, which nine-out-of-ten Australians marked it as being a factor prompting them to purchase from a brand.

This includes expanding sustainable production, focusing on reusable materials, clothing life-cycles and the future of ethical luxury clothing, as price point is often the barrier for many Australians looking to purchase sustainable items.


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