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Disruptive technologies are at work overtime. Whatever happened to the steady, serene, solid, constructive world that we lived in? Boundaries are getting redefined, rules are being broken only to be rewritten, and technology is changing faster than the blink of the eye.
As someone famously said, the best way to see the future is to invent it. The idea smith gazes into his famous crystal ball and tries to see what’s in store for brands and retail in the coming 5 years.

The Future is closer than you think and it looks somewhat like this;

1) Tech Sense:
The social layer that we knew of since the past century has been digitally transformed. Real time, portability, Tech sense is now shaping the customer experience. Earlier brands and retail had to deal with and appease the sense of Sight, Touch and Sound. Added to these is the Tech sense.

Brands will have to figure out a way to deal with this newest “Sense on the block” to make any sense to their business growth.

These are rapidly changing times and the reaction to this faster than you blink tech synthesis is going to remain the key to the success or failure of market players.

2) Search:
For about a decade you would have been searched on Google (78% of the times) In fact the word Search and Google had become a synonym. Move over Google.
Customers are now getting choice to search on other customer comments. Bing, You tube, apps, pinterest and other mediums.

How do brands find themselves in various searches (or) how to they search themselves in various Finds? Tongue twister isn’t it? That is going to be the relevant question.

3) Messaging:
Hike, Viber, Line, Watsapp. Line has reinvented the world of Messaging. From pagers to Watsapp is akin to automotive to aircraft. The flight of messaging has taken off.
How does the brands leverage communication skills and message their attributes using real time messaging?

4) Connectivity:
It is estimated that by 2020 the number of devices connected to the Internet in the world will exceed 40 billion. India is growing at an rate of 27% in the adding to the net connectivity. This reach poses serious challenge to the conventional “brick and mortar” offline model. However as the opposite side of the challenge coin read “opportunity” this mass proliferation does throw up a massive opportunity.

5) Wear Tech:
As tech gets wearable; can wearable become tech. you bet. How does active wear apparel integrate intelligent sensor chips that track the hydrations levels, heart beats, resting rate, calories, etc etc. and give real time feedback to the wearer? This is just one of the many questions which brands will need to ask themselves.

6) Virtual reality:
Virtual reality once a part of sci-fi movies is becoming an APP reality. They say whatever the mind can think, is possible. The smart phones, computers, smart TV’s, internet revolution that we are seeing, touching and utilising today are the outcomes of the thoughts and ideas mankind had in the past two to three decades. What we are going to be witness and experience in 2020’s is simply far more powerful and in some ways scarier that anything in the past.

7) Venture funding:
Venture capitalists and angel funding, are pumping in obscene funding. The flavor of the day is disruptive technology. There is disruption everywhere. The markets seem to be in a mood of destructive capitalization. Whatever happened to constructive work?While Warren buffet won’t touch a tech stock with a barge pole, the rest of the fund fraternity seems to think otherwise.  It’s a given that at least 90% of the tech stories will not have a happy ending, however the balance 10% will go on to create a new model of the market place and shape consumer behavior.

8) Payment gateways:
Payment gateways  are evolving. Phone turns into a wallet. Watch turns into a phone. Would be looking at a denim pant embedded with android Kitkat 7.0 doubling up as a phone and a watch and a wallet and god know what?

9) BIG data:
Big data is making inroads and just like the Orwellian prediction will take over the BIG Brother role. Which essentially means nothing is hidden anymore. Everything about an individual will be available in the public domain. Facts, figures, like, dislikes, fiscal data, and emotional as well as psychological blueprints. You name, I could bet you will find it. This data will not remain an inert part of a massive storage device.

The tools and programs that will mine this data are already being developed. How the data will shape a consumer buying preference is anybody’s guess.

10) The buying experience is changing rapidly and will be totally transformed in the coming 5 years. IN APP, and ONLINE will be powerful enough to offer a game changing experience to the consumer.

Engaging the customer will be nothing like what we have seen to experience as yet.

As the data capture increases and Data analytics becomes supremely powerful the customer will have binary properties. All purchases made in the past 5 years will become the algorithm and brand affinities, size , colour likes, frequency of purchase, purchase power, demographics, resource and purchase utilisations, will become a programme that will a tailor made, customised purchase programme for individuals.

Stores and brands will use this data to service the customer 24*7

The line between on line and in line seems to be blurring each passing day.

Brand building, advertisement and communication will become more personalized. The generic brand and advertising that we now see will give way to direct and interactive and personalized communication.

Omni channel retailing will become mainstream.

11) While the consumer will be spoilt for choices and will be wooed as he or she has never been wooed before, brands and retailers will have to work overtime in order to engage and retain the consumer. The brands success or failure will be dependent on its ability to leverage and integrate the tech trends. It’s the innovators who will take the spoils home.
The last word on this immense challenge and equally opportunity has not been written.
As the idea smith says, the future is closer than you think it is.

To know more about how The Idea Smith lean principles and PDCA methodology can help your company improve profitability by reducing lead times, costs and wastes while increasing throughput and customer satisfaction , get in touch .

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