Study: New factors are shaping the future of commerce

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retail factors are no longer solely influencing the shopping journey.

Rather, politics, voice-controlled devices, Amazon, and new technology innovations are being credited for driving a new era of commerce, according to the “Future of Retail 2018” a report from Walker Sands.

Consumers are further embracing a connected lifestyle, a move that is forcing brands and retailers to reach them on new channels. For example, 72% of consumers under the age of 36 own some kind of connected device (beyond smartphones and tablets), and 93% of those ages 18-25 own some kind of smart device (including smartphones).

Of the consumers who own a voice-controlled device, 64% use it at least once a week, and 50% have made a voice-controlled purchase in the past year.

Amazon’s dominance continues to force competing retailers to evolve. On average, two in five consumers (41%) receive between one and two packages from Amazon per week. That number jumps to half (50%) for consumers ages 18-25, and 57% for consumers ages 26-35, according to the study.

The online giant’s speedy delivery options has also conditioned customers to expect fast delivery from all retailers. Customers are growing so comfortable and reliant on fast delivery that 44% of consumers have used some kind of same-day delivery service in the past year.

Consumers are also excited to shop online for emerging product categories. For example, 39% of consumers said they’re at least somewhat likely to make a grocery purchase in the next year, and more than a third of consumers (35%) would use Amazon to fill prescription orders online.

Another force that is playing a role in commerce is politics. Two-thirds (65%) of consumers reported the current presidential administration has impacted their shopping behavior, up from 40% last year.

“As the lines between retail and other industries blur, brands and retailers need to transform the commerce experience into a more integrated part of the consumer lifestyle,” said Erin Jordan, retail technology practice area lead at Walker Sands and author of the report.

“Commerce is no longer about an intentional decision to go in store or online to buy a product. It is now about connecting with consumers in their everyday lives and offering them the ability to browse, research and purchase when and where it’s convenient to them,” she said. “Going forward, the brands and retailers that find new ways to engage consumers beyond traditional commerce will shape the future of retail.”


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