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MORE EVOLUTION THAN REVOLUTION

As the year draws to a close, many of us focus on family, festive gatherings and food. As we wrap up Christmas shopping and the presents we buy, retailers and manufacturers are wrapping up 2013 and looking to the future.
Amazonrecently announced plans to use drones to swiftly deliver some goods to their metropolitan clients within the next five years and are expanding their reach into grocery delivery too. Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer, announced the purchase of 127 European malls. Many of North America’s larger retailers have only modest plans for growth in 2014. Consumer packaged goods companies, retailers and those that serve them continue to evolve as they seek profitable means of delivering value.
Drones notwithstanding, selling through store environments continues to be the primary means of moving products from manufacturers to consumers. Stores engage consumers’ senses, meet their desires for immediacy, provide social stimulation and represent the most economical means of delivering products to homes.
Not too many years ago, cellphones and overnight package delivery were the things of science fiction. Today, 80% of 18-to-34-year-old Americans own a smartphone. There are more cellphones than toothbrushes in the world. Technology keeps getting better, faster and cheaper; retailers and consumer goods manufacturers are using it all to serve their customers. Technologies may change quickly but human nature won’t change so radically in our lifetimes.
So, calm down, Jane and George Jetson: groceries and most Christmas gifts are still coming home in your trunk for the foreseeable future.