To summarise 2017, I would say it was a year of technological discovery. From the rise of data analytics and immense growth in AI-assisted technology, to the sudden explosion in interest towards blockchain and, perhaps to an extent, even the launch of iPhone X - all of this points to a new era of shift in the world towards digital integration and people’s change of expectation in the everyday life.
What we are already seeing and predict to happen on a greater scale in 2018 is the bridging of these digital mediums to the real world. This will be especially true for the mainstream retail market, where organisations will be cultivating this technology at their disposal to really hack into the consumer habits to revitalise the industry.
“Chinese consumers are becoming involved in creative work, choosing flexible working arrangements, travelling to unusual places, and living unconventional lives ...As consumers become more individualistic, the challenge for brands is to respond to their individual needs.”Joyce Lam, Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific with Mintel
Tencent and Yonghui’s possible investment into Carrefour China
News broke out that Tencent and Yonghui are looking to invest in Carrefour China. The investment is primarily an expansion, on Tencent’s part, to deepen their reach into the user’s lives.
Many analysts see this as part of the social media giant’s competition with Alibaba and their growing presence. For Tencent, this investment will bring about a reach of over 800 offline stores, integrating into the lives of everyday people.
(Credit of Crunchbase news)
In line with the trend of bringing big data into retail, the investment will bring about the synergy of data analysis, mobile payments, and operational know-how. This will create a more holistic online to offline experience, which many are now branding as “intelligent retail”.
This type of opportunistic expansion has been an ongoing process and development in retail, as companies thriving in e-commerce look to penetrate into the offline market, in order to create a more cohesive experience and ensure greater revenue growth.
What this means in the job market
So, how would major trends like this translate into the job market? Given the renewed interest in offline retail, we predict that there will be a greater need for people with in-person retail experience and expertise, which means more Head of Retail roles in the upcoming year.
As more companies set up brick-and-mortars shops, they will want to equip them with people who have a solid understanding of consumers, who are able to properly utilise the data that is generated in order to help make a profit.
(Credit of Mintel)
Since this year will be one of online and offline integration, we foresee that social media and digital platforms will have an even more important role in connecting the experience and strengthening the bridge in between. For this reason, we also foresee an increased demand for digital marketing and ecommerce professionals who will be able to guide companies in bringing in the audience to their stores.
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