With the U.S. economy running at full steam again and new technological advances being unveiled at a breakneck pace, it can feel like the future is rushing toward us, rather than the other way around. But as we demonstrate in this issue of the Kurt Salmon Review, beyond this maelstrom of activity lie unprecedented opportunities for retailers, consumer companies and investors. Each opportunity, however, comes with its own set of challenges.
Retailers who have spent years expanding their brick-and-mortar footprint now must figure out how to make their stores compelling to a generation of people who live their lives online. And while technology can enable an omnichannel experience and allow retailers and manufacturers alike to respond to the constant shifts in consumer preferences, they need to be selective; not all technology will serve all retailers and manufacturers equally.
In the meantime, technology is making the leap to the most valuable real estate of all—the body—where it is poised to become an integral component of both apparel and accessories. But apparel and accessories makers must ensure that the form gets at least as much attention as the function.
For investors, there are good opportunities to be found by following fans: those deeply passionate communities of people whose interests are being selectively catered to by the likes of small chain stores with their personalized services or makers of equipment for emerging categories such as trail running and craft beer.
We cover all these future-looking topics and more for retailers, consumer companies and investors in this latest issue. We hope you enjoy it.