Take a sneak peek at the approaching drivers of retail disruption

Take a sneak peek at Future Retail Disruption 2024 - an exclusive Flywheel Retail Insights report - highlighting the approaching changes to the world we live in and the strategies that retailers and brands should embrace to win in it.

Written by
Emma Irwin
April 3, 2024
Retail Insights
Take a sneak peek at the approaching drivers of retail disruption

Table of contents

The Flywheel Retail Insights team recently published Future Retail Disruption 2024 - a report highlighting the approaching changes to the world we live in and the strategies that retailers and brands should embrace to win in it.

In this blog, we’re taking a sneak peek at 3 of the 9 critical shifts for shoppers, retailers and brands identified in the report which also lays out assumptions to support a future scenario and additionally provides recommendations on preparing. 

More in-depth analysis for Retail Insights subscribers

If you're a Retail Insights subscriber, you can access the full 2024 Future Disruption report here or—if you're more of a video person—you can watch the full recording of our 9th April 2024 virtual event, where David Gordon, Rachel Citren and Rachel Gwyther from the Retail Insights team take an in-depth look at the report and pick out some key highlights.


Shoppers: An AI-powered path to purchase

Our assumptions:

  • Generative AI will transform the online search experience, as retailers leverage this emerging technology for more relevant, personalized and refined search experiences. 
  • Exposure to AI-powered search tools, including personal assistants and chatbots, will evolve consumer search behaviors from product-based search terms to more complex natural language queries.
  • Frictionless experiences on both the digital shelf and in stores will be increasingly commonplace as AI solutions evolve.

What it takes to win:

  • Brands will need to refine their digital shelf strategy as generative AI gains greater scale and sophistication, for example sponsoring occasions or product recommendations as opposed to keywords. 
  • Effective product set-up will become important to ensure relevance in AI-powered search results.
  • AI-powered technology can drive productivity gains across the value chain, supporting personalized products tailored to preferences, and generative AI marketing campaigns.

Retailers: Retail media scales the revenue diversification model

Our assumptions:

  • As costs rise, retailers will lean further on diversified revenue streams, boosting the economic model with higher-margin incomes from a broad ecosystem including retail media, marketplaces and retail-related subscription services. 
  • Retail media offers a scalable opportunity, as retailers invest in upper-funnel media and data clean rooms enable data to be shared securely - facilitating advanced targeting online and in-store, as well as through emerging channels like connected TV. 
  • Retailers will leverage their unique first-party data for personalization and offer sophisticated tools to brands for activations and measuring advertising effectiveness.

What it takes to win:

  • Retail ecosystems, with an increasing array of product and service propositions, create multiple touchpoint opportunities – media, entertainment, and marketplaces - for brands to connect with consumers.
  • Brands will seek their own ecosystem models, connecting with and serving consumers across many touchpoints. 
  • With a focus on data-driven technologies, new segmentation and targeting opportunities are emerging for brands through data clean rooms, full-funnel media activations and connected TV services.

Brands: The requirement for digital shelf excellence across channels

Our assumptions:

  • Third-party (3P) ecommerce continues to outstrip first-party ecommerce, with omnichannel retailers rapidly building out their 3P platforms and assortments. 
  • Social commerce, eB2B and on-demand commerce are also expected to scale quickly, becoming significant digital channels and important components of any brand’s ecommerce and omnichannel portfolio. 
  • Brands must refine their digital shelf strategies to meet consumers online in each of these environments, balancing profitability across channels while driving conversion.

What it takes to win:

  • While establishing a presence across all ecommerce subchannels can be relevant, investment decisions must focus on global marketplaces and the growing affluence found within developing markets as spend shifts online. 
  • As well as social commerce, recognize eB2B as a future growth channel, building investment cases internally to capitalize on the opportunity while identifying relevant platforms and operators. 
  • New online-first brands are growing their presence to compete with established brands in emerging markets, seeking to appeal to a new generation of young shoppers.

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