In the last 12 months the buzz around omnichannel has become the most consistently discussed trend for major retailers. It’s always noteworthy when a trend emerges and becomes a part of the mainstream conversation so quickly, but what is even more noteworthy is how fast omnichannel has become standard operating procedure.
The way people shop has completely changed over the past five years. A large part of this change in behavior has been driven by online access to information. Shoppers now have easy access to more product information than ever before. Yet as the modern buying experience has changed dramatically, the in-store experience at most retailers has remained frozen in time.
A recent Federal Reserve report shows that household finances have regained substantial ground since the Great Recession, driven largely by the run-up in home values and surge in stocks. These positive forces have contributed to the highest level of wealth in our history — the net worth of U.S. households and nonprofits reached $80.7 trillion by the end of 2013.
Dutch physicist Niels Bohr wasn’t talking about the retail industry when he said, “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future,” but the comment couldn’t be more relevant given the volatility facing the retail industry.
The buzz and hype surrounding 3D printing can make it hard to separate fact from fiction, but one thing is for sure: 3D printing has the potential to transform shopper expectations and retail supply chains.