Retail is evolving faster than ever before to keep up with the changing desires of consumers in the digital age

Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesRetail has changed drastically.
  • The retail industry is evolving at a rapid pace to keep up with advancing technology and the ever-changing whims of consumers.
  • For retailers, the transformation is not just about staying relevant, but also about survival in a period when traditional retail is grasping for survival.
  • Business insider spent the last several weeks talking to experts and industry leaders to learn more about how companies are revolutionising retail in the modern era.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A decade ago, the idea of walking out of a cashierless store without wielding a wallet or buying groceries for the week using a smartphone may have sounded like scenes from a sci-fi novel.

Today this is commonplace, as the retail industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace to keep up with advancing technology and the ever-changing whims of consumers. For most retailers, the transformation is not just about staying relevant, but also about survival in a period when traditional retail is grasping for survival.

In the first month of 2020 alone, four retail companies have already filed for bankruptcy, while department store powerhouse Macy’s recently announced it would close 125 stores and shutter corporate offices in a move expected to impact thousands of employees.

However, not all is lost. Brands are learning that the key to courting customers is through innovation and taking risks. With the help of modern technology, retailers are anticipating what shoppers want and when they will want it, fostering a culture of convenience for today’s overscheduled, overburdened consumer.

At the same time, some modern retailers that rose to prominence in the big-box era are experimenting with downsizing and testing concept stores. Meanwhile, others are teaming with buzzy startups like B8ta, a company using data unlike ever before to improve the shopping experience and resurrect beloved brands like Toys R Us.

As with any period of significant change and revolution, there are, of course, growing pains. While brands like Sweetgreen boasted cashless stores that at first glimpse appeared to be the future of shopping, they have also raised concerns over discrimination against low-income populations who may not have a credit or debit card handy.

With all of this in mind, Business Insider is sharing a series of stories on these topics and more this week.

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