The home and garden market has largely recovered from the economic crisis, and the battle between physical retailers and e-commerce has turned into a marriage of convenience as both play a role in the development of omni-channel retailing. Consumers are better informed and new forms of consumption are emerging that challenge established business models. Emerging markets will play a greater part in global demand of home and garden products and will force companies to adapt or disappear.
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Consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones to inform and assist in their shopping decisions. They also provide direction to physical stores and can even be used to pay for products and services through digital wallet apps. Retailers are adapting to this new technology paradigm by trying to engage with their customers via their smartphones more than desktops.
Internet searches and the abundance of how-to videos and articles have made consumers more knowledgeable and thus less dependent on in-store sales assistants. They are also increasingly demanding, thus putting more pressure on retailers.
There is a potentially endless amount of new products and services that can emerge from the Internet of Things. Among the major applications is the dream of the connected home where all appliances and machines can communicate with each other and adapt to the needs of the household.
As more and more personal data goes through smartphones, the threat from online piracy will grow and this could potentially slow down the acceptance of mobile payments for example. The other issue is the large amount of customer data gathered by companies that operate connected objects and devices. Some balance will need to be struck between privacy and information sharing.
In the midst of the recession, some claimed that the high street was dead and that all retail would soon be done online. A few years later and it seems that online and offline are complementing each other.