How eco-venient is your business?

type - features
category - society
sector - diversity & inclusion
sector - retail
sector - luxury
The pandemic-powered retail apocalypse has transformed people’s consumption priorities. Rachele Simms, head of strategy at The Future Laboratory, unpacks the key strategic take-outs from our Eco-venience Retail macrotrend

At our Retail Futures Forum 2021, we presented our latest sector macrotrend, Eco-venience Retail, which examines how rising demand for convenient retail is clashing with the necessity for more sustainable practices, culminating in a conscious, future-proofed framework for brands.

Events over the past 12 months have forced consumers to experiment with new shopping methods as more transactions than ever moved online. Data from IBM showed that five years of digital progress were made in the first five months of 2020, and although the democratisation of technology is allowing a wider range of consumers to access e-commerce, it is also enabling a plethora of businesses to upskill and develop their brand’s digital infrastructure. While in this new world the number of stores will undoubtedly fall, the quality of engagement and service is likely to improve.

This new digital reliance, as well as fractured globalisation – including tumultuous trade negotiations between nations such as the US, China and India, Brexit, and the stranding of the Ever Given container ship in the Suez Canal – means brands and businesses will be forced to adapt to the changing demand and, importantly, supply of 21st-century consumerism.

Further macro-environmental factors including The Big Remote – caused by long periods of lockdown the world over – and the alarming acceleration of climate change are driving a hyper-local mentality, pushing many consumers to reconsider the role and impact of retail.

Back in 2019, David Uy, co-founder and CEO of BLMP Licensing Marketplace, reminded us: ‘People spend their money where they spend their time, [and more and more people are spending their time in digital eco-systems]’. But in 2021 more people are also spending time and money in their local neighbourhoods. Driven in part by convenience, community and personal connection, proactive brands are already reformatting and repurposing stores to provide micro-warehousing, fulfilment centres and local shops that can respond to new communities’ lifestyles.

But new priorities, values and morals will really affect future local retail choices, as consumers continue to demonstrate greater ethical and environmental awareness. Brands will need to make eco-credentials and the social impact of products more measurable, transparent and engaging to reinforce positive behavioural change.

As global supply chains grow too long and too fragile, retailers will need to evolve for consumers who want brands to exist, operate and serve them more cleanly and closer to home.

Published by:

30 April 2021

Author: Rachele Simms

Image: Circulose, Renewcell by Jesper Lindborg


Sweat-Yourself-Shop by Freitag, Zurich

Key thought-starters: for retailers:

Implement Eco-venient operations
As consumer interest rises, how else can brands make e-commerce kinder to the environment? From consolidating multi-brand orders into a weekly delivery to making inventory visible for neighbourhood exchanges and low-energy websites, brands are already re-inventing their operations.

Incentivise the right consumer behaviour
Can you rethink your digital strategies to showcase your eco-credentials and incentivise change? Whether using blockchain to verify proof points of provenance or dynamic pricing systems to reflect carbon footprints, tech upskilling is key.

Be agile and adapt to change
Being present in remote locations or part of creating a new destination, how can store designs be more seamless and effective in response to future demands? Flexible, nomadic brands will be able to offer curated collections and experiences wherever consumers are.

In this new eco-era, investing in digital acceleration, supply chain resilience and more ethical and environmental operations will enable retailers to mitigate risk, as we’re now looking at a more sustainable blueprint for retail that can better serve the community and the planet.

Our team of strategists have developed a wide-ranging set of strategic decision-making tools to help provide future-first solutions for our clients. If you would like to know more, or have any questions about embedding our macrotrends into your business, drop us a message at We look forward to accelerating into the future with you.

‘People spend their money where they spend their time, [and more and more people are spending their time in digital eco-systems].’
David Uy, co-founder and CEO, BLMP Licensing Marketplace

Want to learn more about how you can apply these key thought-starters to your business?

Strategic foresight is the most valuable tool you can adopt to identify and chart a course for future growth and long-term prosperity. Our strategic services employ this future-first approach.

Members of LS:N Global can read more about the strategic implications of Eco-venience Retail as well as new downloadable strategic worksheets.

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