Thursday Sep 01, 2011

Digital Natives – the evolving consumer

Tim Berners-Lee launched the first World Wide Web server and browser in 1990.  It opened for commercial use in 1991.  In 1994 German company Intershop pioneered the online shopping system and Amazon followed hot on their heels in 1995.

In 2012, children born in 1994 will turn 18, becoming the first adults to have lived their entire life in the presence of online retailing.  Of course, many consumers both older and younger than 18 have grown up with the internet and computers being an inherent part of their social development.  Known as ‘Digital Natives’, these consumers are driving the way that retailers adapt the way they sell their products.  They represent an ever growing proportion of the consumer population, particularly those with disposable income.  Between now and 2025, the population of Digital Natives in Britain alone will have increased by roughly 9.5 million people (based on figures from Office for National Statistics).

So what do these Digital Natives expect from their shopping experience?  They have grown up in a world where they can find an answer to any question in less than ten seconds on Google; they can research products online before deciding what to buy; they are used to a marketplace vastly larger than their local high street; they share their likes and dislikes with hundreds (or thousands) of people through social media, and in turn depend more and more on social trends to generate demand rather than just advertising.  How will these trends develop in the next 14 years?  Where will the retail world be in 14 years’ time?

Oracle Retail is currently conducting a survey of about 1,500 Digital Natives aged 18-23 across three countries to explore how they perceive the retail world and what they expect from their shopping experience.  We will be finding out how they make their purchasing decisions, how price-conscious they are, what media they pay most attention to and how they use social media and mobile technology to shop. 

The results of the Digital Natives survey will be launched at a special seminar at this year’s World Retail Congress in Berlin by Mike Webster, Oracle Retail’s Senior Vice President and General Manager.  In this session, Mike will explore the implications of the research and pose questions on how retailers in 2025 will have adapted their business models in response to the development of digital technology and social media.  The presentation will take into account the impact of Digital Natives on stores, commerce, price, communication, marketing and promotions.  To find out more about the session and how to book your place, visit the World Retail Congress website here: http://www.worldretailcongress.com/programme-day-three.cfm

We will also be publishing our findings on this blog.  Subscribe to the blog to stay up to date with the findings.  

Tuesday Aug 30, 2011

World Retail Congress – What’s in store?

It’s just under a month until the next annual World Retail Congress in Berlin.

The World Retail Congress is the culmination of global retail development, and each year hosts the retail industry to share experience and insight from around the world with other businesses and experts. 

The past 11 months have seen some landmark developments in the retail industry, as well as some exciting advances in retail technology and the way people shop.  This year has seen the rise of ‘multichannel’ as a retail imperative  to become the number one target in boardroom agendas.  Mobile technology has finally been embraced by mainstream retailers and shopping by mobile device is a fast evolving consumer trend.  As a result of this, retailers are experiencing an increase in operational complexity that they have had to meet head on in order to maintain logistical efficiency.

All of these advances have been driven by the increased perception of data as a valuable commodity within a business.  Encouraging consumers to use technology to shop – whether on the high street or online - is not only a strategy to increase sales across all channels, but it is also a way to gather a greater level of understanding about how each shopper behaves.  The analysis of this data will in turn drive a retailer’s ability to anticipate supply and demand, assist product development and optimize the way the product is priced and marketed. 

In turn, the consumer is becoming more data-savvy.  Shoppers are more regularly comparing prices of products online before they buy.  Price comparison websites are driving the trend, but smartphone apps that scan barcodes and offer reviews and prices in various shops are also making it easier for consumers to ‘shop smart’.  This is putting extra pressure on retailers of all sizes to become more aware of their competitors’ prices and ensure that their inventory is available across more channels. 

This evolution is what is driving developments in retail across the world, and we will many examples of how businesses are adapting to this change of pace at World Retail Congress this year.  The key topics of the 2011 Programme are ‘Understanding Multi Channel Retailing’, ‘The Rise in Mobile Communications’ and ‘How to deliver international growth through an understanding of shopper behaviour both on and offline’.

It will be very exciting to see what insight the different industry experts will have to offer on these topics, and how pioneering retailers are meeting the challenges head on.  Oracle Retail will also be presenting some research we are conducting on the growth of the technology-savvy consumer and what it means for businesses.  Stay tuned to the blog for more information about this research. 

If you’re heading to the World Retail Congress then make sure you book yourself in for our sessions.  Our Digital Natives session will be at 7.45am on Tuesday, and we’re hosting a discussion on Multichannel Retailing at 3.30pm, again on Tuesday. 

We will also be hosting the presentation about the winners of the Oracle World Retail Awards on Wednesday morning.

Other key speakers we’re looking forward to include:

Alex Cara, Former Group Franchise Managing Director, New Look

Joseph Gromek, President and CEO, Warnaco

Tommy Hilfiger, Founder, Tommy Hilfiger Group

Ian Moir, CEO, Woolworths SA

Eric Broussard, Vice President – International Seller Services, Amazon

We look forward to seeing you there!  For more information, go to http://www.worldretailcongress.com/programme.cfm

About

Everything Retail.


Principal contributors:

Sarah Taylor, Senior Industry Director, Oracle Retail.


Marie-Christin Hansen, Senior Industry Campaigns Manager, Oracle Retail.


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