The Evolution of Retail

With a combination of massive, ongoing investments and pandemic disruption driving permanent shifts in the ways we eat, shop, travel, and spend, there are three key topics for 2022 when it comes to retail and foodservice: The Evolution of Physical Space in Retail and Hospitality, The Future of Commerce, and The Era of Food on Demand. All three sit at the crossroads of the physical and digital worlds.

The Era of Food on Demand

This refers to the way technology is changing not just how we eat but changing what we eat. As delivery and e-commerce solutions become available to more consumers and operators, we’re seeing a greater portion of our daily eating occasions being served by prepared foods.

This trend is of particular relevance this year as we move through the global pandemic. COVID-19 has forced consumers to find new options and to experiment with new solutions, and many of these solutions will persist, particularly those that have to do with delivery.

Going forward, understanding this new trend will be particularly important for operators looking to understand how this will evolve and what an era with less home cooking is going to look like.

The Future of Commerce

This trend is all about convergence. On the one hand we are seeing retailers and foodservice operators grappling with the challenge of e-commerce – looking to improve their e-commerce offerings and looking to grow their e-commerce capacity.

On the other hand, we are also seeing start-ups which began as direct to consumer operators investing in things like physical locations to drive discovery and customer connection - a convergence of missions across the retail, foodservice, and broader hospitality space.

This trend is of particular relevance right now given the surge in e-commerce demand that we continue to see as a result of the pandemic. Coming to terms with this surge is going to require every operator to think carefully about how their operations fit into this new reality and where they sit along the consumer journey.

The Evolution of Physical Space in Retail and Hospitality

This trend is about how physical spaces are going to evolve in the era of e-commerce and what purpose they are going to serve, whether it be delivery fulfilment, marketing, or customer acquisition.

Physical space is a key topic given the restrictions that have come from COVID-19, as well as the explosion in e-commerce and particular share gains being seen among e-commerce players. This is forcing every operator with a physical space to think long and hard about what their outlets are for, what they are doing and where they fit in this broader strategy.

Understanding this trend is going to be very important for any operator wanting to differentiate themselves within this new environment.