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30 Apr 2015

10 Retail Trends

10 Retail Trends

What's in store for retailers in the foreseeable future?

Here's a mad trolley dash down the aisles picking out a few long-term offers and seasonal items collated by Richard Watson author of The Future:50 Ideas You Really Need to Know'. Richard is an author, speaker and futurist. His daily blog and monthly newsletter can be read on


There are occasions when people will take their time, but more usually people won't so items that can be picked up quickly and used instantly will remain popular. The square metre around the cash registers and entrance is retail gold.

2. Made locally

The more the world globalises, the more that people want a taste of home. Localisation is emerging as a potent counter-trend to globalisation and products that are made locally and tell a locally relevant story will be in demand.

3. Instant indulgences

People are busy. They are also increasingly tired. A week in the Caribbean isn't always a practical proposition, so what else can stressed-out shoppers do? One solution is a mini-break in the form of a five-minute shoulder massage or a naughty but nice snack.

4. Sustainability

Customers blow hot and cold about climate change, but resource shortages remain a practical problem and everyone needs to do their bit. Products that are kinder to the environment either in their manufacture, distribution or packaging will do our planet a word of good.

5. Keeping me alive for longer

We are all getting older and ageing is more of the most significant of all retail trends. Products that appeal to people with failing eyesight and creaking limbs can't go wrong. Providing somewhere for older people to sit down is a good place to start.

6. Personalisation

The age of one-size fits all is over. People increasingly want things their way, whether it's a cup of coffee or a greetings card.

7. Price polarisation

The middle market is disappearing and products are polarising between everyday low-cost and luxury. Don't be fooled into thinking customers don't buy both though.

8. Sensory experiences

A noticeable global trend is the shift from selling uniform products to selling unique experiences. Concept stores and brand experiences are one direction, but so too are pop-up stores and gift experiences. Getting customers to partially make their own products in-store is another way of accentuating the tactile.

9. Physical stores

Google have opened an actual shop. In the UK this is an anomaly. In the US it's becoming a flood. Online companies ranging from x to y are embracing the idea of clicks and bricks and are building stores to showcase virtual services and to supply customer service in a more human form.

10. Community retail

Community retail taps into a number of trends ranging from localisation and ethical retail to co-operatives and crowd-sourced content. Do it right and you are a local hero.