Life in the Retail Space October 2015 - Page 8

As Director of Retail Strategy at ThoughtWorks Europe, RUTH HARRISON is a leading luxury brand specialist with over 25 years’ international market and multichannel experience. Possessing a strong background in UK blue chip organisations, she has held senior executive operational and commercial roles within the consumer goods and services sector at John Lewis Partnership and House of Fraser, and most recently Selfridge Group and within the highly competitive Health & Beauty sector at Elizabeth Arden, Body Shop and Estee Lauder Companies. Ruth is also a European Advisory Board Member of Chief Marketing Officer Council Europe, regularly contributing to research, informing market leading industry publications on marketing trends, analysis and implementation strategies. 8 LITRS OCTOBER 2015 DigitalRetail Sustainable Ruth Harrison What does it mean to be green in this day and age? We have moved a far cry from lentil eating, hemp wearing eco-warriors of the late 80’s into a digitalised push button fulfilment economy – by 2020 the conventional retail store will be unrecognisable from the homogenised high street of the last decade, with same bland pile it high sell it cheap model – now stores are entertainment, experimentation and education emporiums, the digital revolution has borne a series of cybereconomies – with fewer physical stores being built – this has to be a good move for sustainability, less waste will be generated, less pollution, less traffic and congestion as a result of the reduced need to visit bricks and mortar store locations. However with this digital transformation we must caution: instead our purchases will be selected and packed for despatch in dark stores, couriered to us at a chosen time, to which ever location we prefer, all whilst generated and facilitated via smart devices; phones and tablets. Now this is indeed quite amazing, yet with new release versions of smart device numbers increasing to several per year – what do we do with the mounting volumes of obsolete devices in our midst? Hardly surprising the millennial generation has already considered this wasteful behaviour and is now pioneering development of eco-smart smart devices – a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and