What is the definition of retail?

21 May 2019

What is the definition of retail?

Poppie Mickleburgh

When you look up the definition of retail it states: ‘The sale of goods to the public for use or consumption rather than resale'.

At Tech., we've talked a lot about the ‘future of retail' and the ‘new retail ecosystem'. We've explored how we best communicate this and the language we should use that best articulates not only traditional businesses and pureplays, but also DTC brands and CPGs. CPGs and brands don't often identify as retailers, yet their ultimate goal is to sell more products to their customers - the very definition of retail. We have dabbled with the words commerce and consumerism, but, we always seem to come back to the fact that all these companies sell products to the end user. The questions we must ask ourselves is, will the broader commerce world recognise themselves as retailers? Are we redefining its definition?

Technology and digital have broken down the barriers to entry for new brands and more traditional CPGs, and a new wave of retail is unfolding daily. These brands are no longer at the mercy of traditional businesses and can start to build their own valuable relationships with customers. A CEO of a high street chain recently told me that those who best know their customer will be the winners, it won't be defined by whether they are a retailer or brand. That relationship won't come just through one company but rather strategic partnerships where the customer interests are put first.

I wouldn't be surprised if over the next decade we see a complete dissolving of the traditional high street, to be replaced by a swathe of brands. Because, let's face it, retail isn't dying. People will always need to buy things, they are just doing it through different channels and engaging with brands who deliver a great, easy and cost-effective experience.  We are seeing the start of this across the globe with brands such as Nespresso, Allbirds, Ace & Tate, Dyson, Charlotte Tilbury, Reserved, Magnum, Glossier and Warby Parker, to name just a few, dipping their toes onto the high street.

The retail boundaries are being completely redrawn by the rise of DTC and customers' expectations are evolving faster than ever before. At Tech. we will be welcoming the entire ‘new' retail ecosystem to showcase how retailers, CPGs and brands can thrive in the ever-evolving commerce world. View more in our featured sessions for Tech. Watch this space as the new landscape evolves.

 

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