For years we've heard that disruption is coming. In reality, we are already disrupted – the new retail world that we've been promised is here.

These are some of the biggest trends impacting the consumer and retail industry in 2018:

  1. Customer experience is more important than ever as retailers are striving to differentiate themselves in a challenging and crowded market. Consequently, experience per square foot will be the new retail metric to measure success. 
  2. Artificial intelligence will gain more clout with some executives predicting that 85 percent of all transactions will be AI-based by 2020. 2018 will be the year we see AI being deployed at scale.
  3. The rise of the conscious customer will continue as consumers base their buying decisions on many factors beyond price. These new consumers, led and influenced by millennials, are exerting influence on retailers and forcing them to take action. 
  4. The retail world we were promised is here and it will continue to impact the path to purchase. We've arrived at the intersection of elevated consumer expectations and technical possibility.
  5. A tale of two hemispheres is playing out as platform players and non-traditional retailers expand their reach and offerings. The juxtaposition of what is happening in the West and the East will dominate the retail landscape with the latter in many cases moving faster than the former. 

Read more on how companies are responding to these trends here (PDF 2.5 MB).

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