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Walker Sands’ 2018 Future of Retail Report – The New Era of Online Commerce

Erin Jordan

Erin Jordan

Another year, another round of innovations within the retail industry. And this year, the industry’s evolution expands commerce implications beyond the bounds of retail.

Since 2014, we’ve studied some of the most significant developments within the world of retail, commerce and the supply chain. In the past, our reports have shed light on important upcoming retail trends such as the use of drones or the evolution of mobile shopping. Our 2018 Future of Retail report also takes a look at new and emerging retail technologies. But this year, we focused on connected lifestyles, the expansion of Amazon, the dramatic rise of voice and the need for supply chain optimization.

Voice Controlled Devices Infographic

As consumers embrace connected technology such as digital assistants and hands-free devices, brands and retailers have the opportunity to cater to consumers in new and exciting ways. What’s more, we found that leading retailers are influencing sectors outside of traditional retail – from grocery to pharmaceuticals.

Hungry for more insights? Dig into our key findings below, and check back for two more blog posts that offer a deeper look into some of our most important findings.

  • Younger consumers aren’t afraid to break with tradition. Unlike generations before them, digitally savvy millennials opt for tools and channels that offer information at a moment’s notice. In fact, only one out of four consumers ages 18-25 have cable. This demand for greater value and convenience has also helped drive ownership of connected home devices all the way up to 93 percent.
  • Amazon shapes consumer expectations. Forty-two percent of shoppers receive one or two shipments from Amazon each week. And as the retail giant expands its services with acquisitions like Whole Foods, retailers face pressure to try new strategies for attracting customers – or risk losing wallet share.
  • Digital assistants are far from novelty. Nearly two-thirds of consumers who own a voice-controlled device (64 percent) use it at least once a week, and 50 percent have made a voice-controlled purchase in the past year. As these devices become the norm, a strategy to communicate with customers and enable commerce across channels is a must.
  • When it comes to delivery, speed is the name of the game. Almost 45 percent of consumers have used same-day delivery during the past year. And many consumers are pleased with the speed of Amazon’s delivery services. While 15 percent of consumers say online retailers always meet their expectations for speed of delivery, twice as many say the same about Amazon. Retailers aiming to attract new customers would be wise to satisfy customers’ growing need for speed.
  • Amazon is expanding beyond traditional retail. There’s plenty of excitement surrounding Amazon’s foray into new industries. In fact, more than a third of consumers (35 percent) would use Amazon to fill prescription orders online. Wondering what’s driving this growth? Look no further than the speed and simplicity consumers have become accustomed to. Sixty-one percent of consumers cite the ability to ship quickly as a top reason they turn toward Amazon for prescriptions. Meanwhile, 43 percent enjoy an easier ordering process due to Amazon’s access to customer information.
Alexa Future of Retaiil

The commerce experience isn’t as cut and dried as it once was. New technology has set the stage for a connected lifestyle in which consumers can research and make purchases more easily than ever before. As competitors look to carry over that ease and convenience to other industries, retailers must be prepared to do the same.

To learn more about this new age of commerce and how you can cater to the lifestyles of today’s consumers, download the full Walker Sands 2018 Future of Retail here. And check back for the second installment of our three-part blog series.