Transparent logo (White name)

The Future Of Retail.. it’s here sooner than you think…

Share This Post

Earlier this year, I went on an immersion trip to Shanghai. You would have heard or experienced WeChat payment & QR code.

But what is more amazing is Alibaba offers a digital marketplace where banking is embedded in the ecosystem. To put in context, Alibaba, TaoBao, TMall, Alipay put together is like an Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Paypal all in one ecosystem.

Imagine this

– You advertise yr movie concept & ask customers to crowdfund through Alibaba Pictures

– Once a movie is made, you buy tickets to see movie via Taobao

– And if you want to watch the digital release of the movie, you can go to Youku – Alibaba version of Netflix

– If you like the movie, you buy branded merchandise via Tmall

All these is paid for & funded through your Ant Financial Accounts.

Alibaba has just built an ecosystem which provides solutions to various aspects of customers life. With this ecosystem, Alibaba has amassed a huge amount of customer data which can be used to predict customers behaviour #predictiveanalytics to deliver personalised solutions even before customers expect them – driving customer loyalty & bigger customer Lifetime Value.

Enabled by AI & Big Data – ushering the future of retail – Industrial 4.0

In the next 10 years, AI Assistants will help us manage our finances, do our grocery shopping, plan our schedule, co-ordinate our travels and even organise our social lives. Industrial 4.0 will be powered by AI with AI Assistants (buddies) replacing our mobile screens as the main user interface.

Companies will use AI to develop intuitive recommendations before we expect it. Eg. Amazon (Alexa) will be the key interface to its Everything Store. This seems futuristic. But it will be here sooner than you think, slowly and unconsciously. UK finance industry is already operating on Open Banking Platform, China’s Alibaba has started building ecosystem around a customer’s life. With information from many data points, AI will transform customer experience. SIA has recently partnered with a technology provider to make recommendations through AI Predictive Analytics – anticipating customers needs and provide customised offerings – building stronger customer intimacy and customer lifetime value. 

Buying intent is now rarely originated by the consumer but from his AI Assistants by anticipating his desires, schedule and activities. 

• The AI Assistant will match the buyer’s insight-rich profile, buying need and budget with millions of products/services and sellers around the world. 

• It will then recommend 3 most suitable purchases with the most competitive and individually negotiated price points. 

• For wearable items you need to try, the virtual clothing will be fitted on your digital avatar for you to visualize and ask for friend’s feedback.

The Winners?

Amazon (Alexa) will have the ultimate user interface to its Everything Store and Google (Home/Assistant) will enable you to make friction-less purchases from the Cloud of Stores. Capturing the entire consumer wallet share could make these tech giants 10x more valuable than they are today.

This does not mean the brick & mortar business will go away. The new retail will co-exist with mass consumer migration from older to the newer generations, given the better economics, enhanced value and superior experience.

Technology has reshaped the way we live, work and play today, there is simply no turning back. 

AI is embedded in all aspects of our lives that the new customer experience is now the Gold Standard. Not only that, we are now enjoying cheaper alternative, seamless experience.

The Future of Retail will be AI enabled. Organisations with different Products should start to break down (data) silos and look at harnessing data to deliver customised solutions and a more coherent cross sell strategy that not only build customer loyalty but result in increase in profit. The new metrics – Customer Lifetime Value.

That is Brand Differentiation.

About Author

Adeline Tiah

Accomplished executive with more than 20 years of experience in building brands, delivering business growth and leading teams. I am passionate about building brands and high performance teams.

A practitioner in Human Centred Design Thinking, I enjoy helping organisations solve problems, connect the dots to make things happen.

More To Explore