STORES Magazine - December 2014 - (Page 20)

n COVER STORY FORWARD FOCUSED What's ahead for retail in 2015 "I've always believed that happiness is just around the corner. The trick is finding the right corner." - Eric Weiner, author, The Geography of Bliss I by SUSAN REDA, EDITOR n retail it's not uncommon to hear that a company has turned a corner - or hopes to. Analysts try to get inside of the minds of executives in the corner office. And is there a retailer out there who hasn't dreamed of cornering the market with a concept or product? Identifying the "next big things" is more inexact science than exacting skill. Here at STORES we've been making predictions for nearly 10 years; sometimes we're right, often we're close - and then there are those "What were we thinking?" moments. Nonetheless, we're at it again. As we ruminate about what's likely to turn up in 2015, we're betting on ever-increasing innovation, a more optimized shopping experience and a reimagined retail enterprise powered by analytics, transformed by speed and hurtling toward a digital economy. The balance of power resides firmly in the hands of the consumer - literally and figuratively. With smart devices always at the ready, consumers are never more than a click away from interacting with a brand, researching a product or finding the lowest price. Traditional business models continue to be disrupted as upstarts unencumbered by legacy thinking apply fresh approaches to delivery services, subscriptions, line-busting and payment technology. We'll get to the specifics presently, but first a note of thanks: Planning for this feature begins in mid-July. Every conference session, every expo floor meeting, every phone briefing becomes fodder for determining what may be on the horizon in the coming 12 to 18 months. To all the retailers and analysts who shared their insights, all the vendors who explained their latest technology and everyone who set aside time to share their retail vision - a big thank you is in order. There's no way to thank everyone individually for the input they've provided; the list would fill a magazine page. Still, we're filled with gratitude. We couldn't do it without you! I WANT IT NOW Same day delivery is officially on steroids. Get it in gear or get left in the dust. Shoppers want their "stuff" in a nanosecond, or so it seems. Gone are the times when ordering something online meant waiting two to three business days. Who has that kind of patience today? Ready to make it happen are a handful of startups including UberRUSH, Deliv, WeDeliver and Shutl. For the most part these services are only available in certain markets, but expansion blueprints have been cast at each. Using UberRUSH, New York City retailers can drop a pin on their location and have a local messenger pick up an item for immediate delivery within minutes. San Francisco-based 20 STORES December 2014 Deliv lets local retailers offer same-day delivery and provides an app to track deliveries. Is it pricey? You bet, but for some shoppers "get it now" is a luxury they're willing to pay for. The clash for the upper hand being played out between Google Express and Amazon Prime is one to keep an eye on. In October, Google announced plans to expand Google Express beyond California's Bay area and Los Angeles to Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Google Express doesn't have massive warehouses a la Amazon Prime, but it does have retail partners like Costco, Walgreens, PetSmart and The Vitamin Shoppe. Amazon Prime offers a far broader selection and gives members access to streaming music, TV shows and other content, but the big promise of Prime is two-day delivery. And don't forget Starbucks: The coffee giant recently announced plans to roll out a delivery option through its mobile app in select cities next year. NRF.COM/STORES http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - December 2014

Forward Focused
Retail People
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
Business Operations
Inventory Management
Customer Relations
Store Operations

STORES Magazine - December 2014