Alibaba, as the largest B2B online platform, accelerate its offline harvesting, JD has launched the “Borderless Retail” strategy and even Tencent’s recent participation in Yonghui, the new retail boom set off again. Actually, there is nothing New or Old on Retail, these buzzwords were created to evoke public’s attraction, just like “O2O” (Online-to-Offilne). From the early days of Tmall Station to the Tmall Store, it is a process of profound accumulation.
The vigorous growth of Ali and JD shaped the “new retail” market in the early 21st century. By 2017, e-commerce has become quite normal, the online sales growth rate has slowed down. The traditional retail store has gradually recovered from the impact by e-commerce, and many companies are turning their sights back to the offline, they intend to build an integrated online and offline platform.
The new generation consumption and groundbreaking technology evolution are the root causes of the new retail. The new digital technology have empowered traditional retailers to unlock business opportunities, consumers’ demands for enhanced shopping experiences and localization of shopping scenes. The powerful e-commerce companies must re-examine and explore the boundary of online and offline integration.
Ali privatizes Intime, invests in Sanjiang Shopping, Xinhuadu and Gaoxin Retail, Tencent participates in Yonghui Supermarket, Amazongo, Boxma Fresh, Fun Box, Red Tea, and so on, and a series of phenomenon-level emerges. All these cases proved that the offline store still survive, and New Retail suddenly became a buzzword.
What is the New Retail, is it "online + offline + logistics", or "retail digitalization "? The Alibaba Research Institute proposes that the new retail is a data-driven, generic retail form centered on consumer experience.Liu Qiang Dong, Chairman and CEO of JD, proposed that the application of technology has never fundamentally changed the nature of retail. So, we don't need to generate buzzword to define new industries. The nature of the retail will never changes: costs, efficiency, and experience.
Let’s return to the essence of retail: meeting the needs of consumers and providing consumers with more extreme "content" (products + services). Nielsen Research pointed out that the next decade will be the golden age of consumers, and consumers will be given unprecedented choice and control.
We believe that the new retail is a combination of multiple forms and industries, online + offline, goods + services, retail + technology, consumer-centric, through data-driven + artificial intelligence + Internet of things, to achieve a customized production drew by consumption demands, we may call it “C2B” (Consumer to Business).
Two forms: unmanned or guidance service staff
From the point of view of the new retail business, unmanned and service staff will become two major priorities. We believe that these two models will be the two major trends in the mid-term of new retail development.
The unmanned retailing is a phased path to control the channel cost and maximize consumer convenience: Low cost and high efficiency (Revenue/Area) will also promote the densification of outlets and bring convenience to consumers. The goal of unmanned retailing is to remove logistics centers, remove outlets network, converge production-distribution-sales, (or the supply chain tends to converge) to achieve the "minimum loss of goods-consumers" path.
The transparent digital signage will become a visual merchandising display to converge the brand and consumer experience, YIPLED has already empower several unmanned retail stores to generate the conversation with the consumer.
The guidance service staff is an inevitable role for on-site service and socialization. Commodities and services tend to converge. The concept of "people" will be completely released from the traditional store guides, administrators, and cashiers. If stores increasingly become places for customer consultancy or tech-fuelled brand experiences, as many predict, there is going to be a need for retailers to create the relevant roles to deliver such services. And if, as retail futurist Howard Saunders suggests, consumers increasingly want to buy products with compelling stories behind them and artisan items that have interesting provenance and a clear back story, it opens up an opportunity for retail stores to employ people who can add colour to these tales, aiding both sales conversions and the shopper experience.