Current trends in the retail sector

Generation Z, robo retail & augmented reality, retail recruiting, the challenges of the last mile – the list of current issues in the retail sector is both long and diverse. Here we present a brief overview of the latest trends.

  • Generation Z / Generation Now: This target group encompasses the generation born between the year 2000 (1995 according to some definitions) and 2010, also known as Digital Natives. The target group is defined by using new technologies as a matter of course, for example operating smartphones using voice control. According to evaluations of Google Netherlands, they expect tailored assistance from mobile services in order to identify the best products and services for consumption as quickly as possible. Social networks and recognition through them also play a very important role.
  • Robo retail & augmented reality: The fascination with robots remains high. According to the assessment of the retail report, robots will be used mainly in logistics and warehousing, remaining a rarity at the POS. The company Attraktion from Austria presented a successful use case for robots in the retail sector during the World Retail Forum: a mobile ticket vending machine for an underwater attraction in a shopping center. The playful way of addressing the robot resulted in an increased willingness to buy tickets.
    A playful approach also plays a major role in augmented reality, providing an inspiring shopping experience. Thanks to the ability to view products in 3D and virtually in their composition, it offers a novel information medium as well.
  • Retail recruiting: As a counterpoint to the robot clerk, the retail report also points out the continued high relevance of human personnel in the retail sector. The occupational profile of the clerk behind the checkout counter however is a model heading for obsolescence. Retailing needs "digital experts" who are able to easily integrate the new technologies into their work and use them for the benefit of customers. Real time information in the shop is an example, accessible from the cloud using mobile devices, enabling the salesperson to adequately respond to customer requests. For this occupational image, the German retail sector does however have to work on its attractiveness as an employer and on updating outmoded curriculums in education.
  • The last mile: The retail report uses this catchphrase to point out "the greatest weakness of e-commerce", namely delivery. Major efforts are being made to successfully overcome it. The large logistics service providers DHL and UPS are expanding their infrastructure and services in order to offer even more flexible delivery. Other providers such as DPD are cooperating with local start-ups that have the flexibility to bring shopping anywhere in the city or to also pick it up there. Delivery by small, self-propelled robots is also described under the catchphrase self-driving delivery. Here the focus is not on speed but on transparency and reliability since customer confidence will be the success factor.

Currently all retailers have the same questions, but due to the highly dynamic development of technologies and target groups, they cannot be answered with a single trend that promises a lasting recipe for success.

Therefore, the answer must be to know your target group very well in order to choose those measures from the broad selection of technologies, products, services, and channels that are relevant for that target group and significantly improve their shopping experience.

That is easier said than done. The following approaches may help retailers to master these challenges.

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Stephanie Rath

Sycor contact

Stephanie Rath

Marketing - PR

Phone +49 551 490 2425

Fax +49 551 490 2901


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37073 Göttingen

Phone +49 551 490 0

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