Retail set for transformational 2018, J. Walter Thompson

Retail set for transformational 2018, J. Walter Thompson

2018 might be Amazon’s most interesting year to date, according to J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group’s annual Future 100 report. After its surprise acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, the question is: which established industry will the e-commerce giant take on next? 2018 could be the year when Amazon becomes truly unstoppable, or gets cut down to size. 

The Future 100 foresees a 2018 full of transformational change and new opportunities for consumers and the companies whose brands they buy. Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group, says: “The future is happening faster than ever, thanks to the rapid pace of tech innovation and digital culture. New models of commerce are causing disruption and scaling rapidly. In food, drink and beauty, we see nascent trends exploding in a nanosecond, thanks to social media. Meanwhile, new technologies are completely transforming the way we interact with commerce, marketing and the internet. AR, VR, AI, voice activation and 5G will all create seismic change in the way we work and live. Coupled with this we are seeing consumers who are more demanding of brands than ever – and focused on wellbeing, experiences and self-improvement in all aspects of their lives.”   

The report also flags up the following areas to watch next year: Companies are working to own not just the retail experience, but the digital wallet as well. Control over payments brings valuable consumer data and an avenue for promotions that engender loyalty. 

From January 2018, Open Banking will massively disrupt the UK’s finance sector, providing a glimpse of the banking industry’s future. It sets the standard for propelling the FinTech industry forward. If it is initially successful, banks will shift to providing more modular and personalised services tailored to consumers, rather than serving as a one-stop shop. 

Far from annihilating the bricks and mortar sector, major e-commerce brands are revitalising it through creative concepts that merge URL and IRL experiences in new ways. Despite the convenience of e-commerce and the vast number of online purchases made every minute, consumers still enjoy the thrill of seeing, touching and engaging with a product. E-commerce brands are leading the way in merging the two in unique ways. 

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