Future scenarios for retail communication 2025

Together with marketing managers for retail, media representatives and service providers the EHI Retail Institute has investigated the communication and shopping behaviors of future customers. The systematically identified scenarios created provide an insight into possible forms of communication between consumers and retailers until the year 2025.

Successful and strong retailers primarily have one thing in mind, their customers. Those who are close to their customers see how their spheres of life change and can develop strategies or adapt their business models to adapt. How will customers and their lives change in the future? Which values might your customers have in the future? How might their everyday shopping and communication activities look?

The EHI has developed future scenarios together with leading marketing professionals from the retail industry, media and service providers which give a view of the customers of tomorrow and which draw conclusions concerning the retail communication up to the year 2025. This has resulted in eight scenarios:


No advertising, please! (scenario 1)
The customer of tomorrow prefers to rely on his/ her own experiences. He/ she feels manipulated by advertisements and the media. Brands are irrelevant. He/ she likes to network with like-minded people in order to get the best product at the best price.
Bargains? Give it to me. (scenario 2)
The customer of tomorrow loves bargains above all. Due to his/ her brand affinity he/ she knows exactly which brand he/ she wants and compares the offers of various suppliers beyond all media and channels. While searching for the best price he/ she uses discounts and coupons.
Kiss me, touch me, seduce me. (scenario 3)
The customer of tomorrow feels pleasure, delight and joy during shopping. The brand victim loves his/ her brands and the theatrical staging on the surface. The parties involved use mass media to spread their message far and wide whilst keeping customers close through exciting in-store experiences.
Time is money: More service, please! (scenario 4)
The customer of tomorrow views shopping as an annoying obligation. Retailers who take the burden off the customer quickly win their devotion. He/ she entrusts the retail partner with personal data because automation, technical innovation and economic efficiency of purchasing and information are important to him/ her.
Cyberspace is my territory. (scenario 5)
The customer of tomorrow strolls with pleasure in the world of cyberspace. “Always on” is his/ her motto with high preference of mobile and local. Mobile devices and wearable technologies supply individual recommendations according to the needs of the retailer.
Hyper consumption was yesterday! (scenario 6)
The customer of tomorrow is limited to essentials.  If the conscientious and modest consumer can identify with the sustainability of the retailer, he/ she is loyal and desires personal, on-site support. He/ she appreciates the exchange amongst a peer group, the concept of a shared economy as well as handmade products.
Lifestyle connects (scenario 7)
The customer of tomorrow seeks for an intensive exchange with retailers who represent authentically his/ her lifestyle. As a nucleus of the community the retailer supplies the technophile and experience-oriented customer with individual information, if it is preferred via social networks or retrieved by the customer.
I am the king (scenario 8)
Nullachtfünfzehn geht nicht mehr. Der Kunde von morgen mag es gern außergewöhnlich. Er liebt individuelle Waren, Services und Informationen genauso wie das ausgefallene Ambiente, sowohl virtuell als auch real. Händlern, die diese Anforderung in idealer Weise erfüllen, gestattet er den engen, interaktiven Dialog auf technisch anspruchsvollem Niveau.

The future scenarios provide retailers with the opportunity to recognize communication and consumption needs at an early stage and to develop appropriate strategies. The German study can be ordered here.

Furthermore the presentation of the scenarios gave rise to questions about their relevance in the present. The EHI and the GfK considered this question together. A reconciliation of the scenarios with the "Total Shopper Dates" of the GfK offers interesting results, which not only present insights into factual consumption expenditure but also into behavior and preferences of the alternative living environment.

You can order the results here.

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