Anders Sörman-Nilsson
Futurist and innovation strategist

Digital disruption has hit retailers in Australia in a massively impactful way over the past few years, and it will continue to be a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future. However, this doesn't neccessarily mean that everything that can be digitised should be digitised, and doesn't spell the end for the offline human, analogue experience.

Did you know that in the western world today, digital still only accounts for 10 percent of all retail?

Bricks and mortar are still dominating, in fact, digital retailers are now trying to connect with consumers’ emotional hearts by venturing into retail channels, and here are some examples:

  • eBay has experimented with pop-up shops in London and New York City.
  • PayPal forayed into analogue-mobile shopping walls in Singapore’s subway station.
  • China’s leading digital retailer, TaoBao, is investing heavily in human-brand touch points in its distribution chain in the form of TaoBao models who’ll deliver your goods to you.
  • Digital disruptor Apple has the highest sales per analogue square metre in the world.
  • Google is reaching out to customers with printed, analogue $75 vouchers telling us that the future of advertising is on Google’s digital Adwords.
  • The Australian online retailer Shoes of Prey now has analogue shopping mall concessions.
  • Shoe disruptor StyleTread was sold by its founders to bricks- and-mortar retailing family the Munros in their exit. 

The full story is that we are seeing adaptive companies on both sides of the digital divide being inspired by each other’s strengths.

Adaptive bricks and mortar players are also realising it’s not enough just to rely on analogue location and foot traffic alone and increasingly, they are offering informational value digitally to the consumers’ rational minds.

For example, IKEA - the biggest printer of a single print volume in the world – the coveted IKEA catalogue – is now also digitally alive, with scannable and digitally browsable photos and codes bringing the catalogue to life. IKEA has also invested heavily in its online retail channel and digital 3D design tools enabling the consumer to imagine how IKEA’s flat packed solutions can fit their analogue households.

The full story is that we are seeing adaptive companies on both sides of the digital divide being inspired by each other’s strengths. Digital disruptors are realising they cannot only appeal to consumers’ digitised, rational minds, they also need to connect with their enduringly analogue hearts – emotional hearts that still enjoy analogue retail therapy. 

About the Author

Anders Sörman-Nilsson is a futurist and innovation strategist who helps executives and business leaders decode trends, answer disruptive questions and strategise for foreseeable and unpredictable futures. As a Swedish-Australian strategist at Thinque, he has helped executives of Fortune 500s and ASX leaders convert provocative questions into proactive, future strategies across four continents since 2005.

Article sourced from AMP Capital Shopping Centre's Recommended Retail Practice Report: "The New Consumer Paradigm - Embracing the evolving retail landscape".

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