Has there ever been so much change in retailing? It is difficult to try and list all the changes over the last 12 months, much less the time since the GFC.
Experimentation for retailers has become the norm and many retailers are urgently chasing new ideas to see what might stick and give them a leg up on their competitors. This trend was highlighted by Walmart's announcement this week that it was going to ask employees to deliver customer orders on their way home from work. Seriously!!!!!!!
IKEA are experimenting with a whole range of new concepts to do with things like store size, and augmented reality and one of their officials admitted - "We're trying to do as many things as possible to see what works.....it's like, the more the merrier."
Change itself may be the only constant as a genuine retail revolution encourages retailers to experiment with a whole range of options. And, of course, the problem is which do you tack onto. A smart retailer won't rush into every new trend but stagnation is probably more damaging (check out the list of retail failures this year).
The online/instore transition still has a long way to go but the interesting swing from bricks'n'mortar to pure online to a combination of both is starting to become a little clearer. Personal service with the assistance of digital catalogues in smaller footprint stores with alternative delivery options seems to be the path at present.
One big advantage of experimenting is that it usually involves a closer relationship with your customers and that should be good right? Unless of course your idea is a disaster and then you have some repair work to do. Walmart might be having some conversations with their employees right now.