New Retail – how the Trend from China is revolutionizing the Retail Industry

The last few years changed the shopping behavior of consumers enormously. Online retail continues to replace offline shopping more and more. The numbers from the German Federal Statistical Office speak for themselves. 49 million people ordered online in 2021. Around 30 percent order online at least once a week. Online retail seems to be the winner. Especially in the tragic times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Open Sign

Not really. New Retail is slowly but surely overtaking online shopping and conquering the consumer world. If you want to be successful in the long term, you have to start looking at trends in so-called Retail 2025 now.

This article tells you everything you need to know about the new megatrend and the role played by digital signage.

What is New Retail?

New Retail is the overarching integration of different retail channels. In this process, both online and offline retailing as well as technology and logistics merge into a single chain of value creation. This creates new solutions, retail opportunities, and measures for customer acquisition and retention. Retail digitization not only opens up new paths, but also enables individual trade and action strategies.

The retail of the future combines online and offline trade and creates a successful basis for your business. The results of the German KPMG study Trends in Retail 2025 confirm that in the future, only those companies that integrate offline and online retail will be successful.

In addition, stores were closed for months because of the pandemic. Every statistic proves again and again what a dramatic loss of sales the retail industry has suffered. New Retail is one of the most important trends in retail and offers a great opportunity to bring customers back to retail stores.

Our global networking also means that consumers no longer actively want to search for the way to the product. People want the product to find them—anywhere and at any time. Is that possible? Well, the largest e-commerce market in China is living it for us. A reorganization of commerce based on the connection of different channels as well as customer-centric services made its breakthrough there. And the great journey called “New Retail” continues unabated. But what does New Retail mean in detail?

Where did New Retail come from?

New Retail China – that could also be the name of the new megatrend. After all, New Retail has its roots in China, where the size of the e-commerce market ranks first worldwide.

Shopping in China is not only hip, it's capturing the hearts of shopping fans at an incredible rate. Like a black hole, New Retail is absorbing the best marketing strategies, different channels, and the latest technologies, shaping it into a customer favorite.

background Image From youtubevideo
Shopping in the Chinese Alibaba Hema supermarket (English).
Click on the image opens the YouTube video.

The best proof of the enormous success of merging multiple sales channels and retail methods is demonstrated by the Alibaba platform. Ever since Alibaba implemented New Retail in its corporate strategy and built bridges between different retail channels, the company's success has been growing almost inexorably. Let's take a closer look at why New Retail is so successful.

New Retail as an Interface between Online and Offline Experience

New Retail is not an either-or question. Because New Retail combines online shopping and brick-and-mortar retail. It thus creates a unity that ensures a perfect shopping experience. The symbiosis of the most successful measures of different channels uses the technological advantages as well as important data evaluation, creates solutions and thus fulfills the wishes of the consumers in the best possible way.

New Retail is roughly divided into four areas that optimally meet different needs of customers and retailers. These include:

  1. Entertainment – social media, gaming, reality experiences, etc.
  2. Digitization – search engine optimization, mobile payments, artificial intelligence (AI).
  3. Logistics – optimization of warehouse and logistics processes, fast delivery through unmanned driving services and local storage options
  4. X-Commerce – Business through different levels of business customers (B2C, B2B, Social Commerce)

Smart Mirrors

In all areas of New Retail, there is an interplay between the online and offline worlds. Smart mirrors are a vivid example of this. In stationary retail, garments are equipped with specific sensors.

AR Mirror in Boutique
Touch mirror in changing room of boutique

When a customer looks at himself in the mirror, significant product information (e.g., material composition, care tips) appears immediately in the mirror. Thanks to matching suggestions, the customer can put together the perfect outfit using augmented reality. There is no need to try on the clothes, and the shopping trip becomes an unforgettable experience. This saves time and nerves.

Smartphone as the Linchpin

Smartphones play a central role in New Retail. Various apps make it easy for customers to pay with their mobile device. In the process, customers scan the barcode of the desired item with their smartphone and the money is withdrawn from the account stored in the app.

Quick and uncomplicated. All price tags include QR codes that provide customers with important information about products. Additionally, customers have the option of logging into their smartphone through facial recognition and immerse themselves in a world of high-tech shopping.

Smartphone paymentg
Py with a Smartphone

Smart Cameras

Thanks to facial recognition, the cameras capture the movement of the customer's eyes, facial expressions and gestures, and help identify the customer's tastes through integrated artificial intelligence. Thanks to intelligent algorithms, the software determines the preferred clothing style and suggests suitable items based on the data. A service that is second to none.

As a result, customers not only experience outstanding service, but also enjoy personalized shopping in all its facets. A smartphone also enables 24-hour shopping – without any staff at all. This is because customers are identified at the store entrance via a QR code, which is shown on the smartphone display. Finally, after shopping, the customer pay for the products in a relaxed manner via the mobile device.

Digital Signage as a Part of New Retail

Digital signage is essential in new retail. The use of large, smart screens is very popular with consumers. Colorful, animated visuals attract attention and encourage customers to take a closer look at products.

The QR codes shown on public displays offer smartphone users further helpful options for obtaining extensive information about products. Virtual assistants accompany customers through the digital world and create an ideal link to stationary retail.

In addition, digital signage solutions score points with quick content change, flexibility, and adaptability to local needs, and innovative appearance. The acceptance of digital displays, low effort and cost benefits should also not be underestimated. Today, digital signage technology is an integral part of New Retail and a smart investment in the future.

Pros and Cons of New Retail

Just like online shopping and brick-and-mortar retail, New Retail has various advantages and disadvantages. However, it should be noted that New Retail is constantly evolving. It is subject to constant change and innovation processes. Advanced technologies, better recording of customer wishes and the latest technology – all these points reflect the possibilities that already exist as well as future developments.

What are the advantages of New Retail?

Advantages of New Retail at a glance:
  • Innovative thanks to digital signage and facial recognition
  • Comfortable due to digital payments
  • Fast delivery though well-thought-out logistics
  • Personalized thanks to AI and Big Data
  • Seamless shopping experience

New Retail already has many advantages and almost limitless potential for the future of stationary retail. Shopping improves significantly through the linking of several retail channels and opens up new paths and perspectives for stationary retail.

Personalized recommendations create incentives to buy and increase the likelihood that additional items will be purchased.Fast payment processes also positively influence the customer experience and ensure lasting customer loyalty. Global networking helps providers respond to the agility of the dynamic market and thus respond to customers' wishes. This turns a simple store around the corner into an unforgettable experience.

Augmented Reality

This is how stationary retail is shaping the future of the market. The goal is customer satisfaction and agile marketing measure.

Which disadvantages come with New Retail?

The disadvantages of New Retail at a glance:
  • Privacy protection compliance
  • IT-Security
  • High initial investment
  • Difficult to measure key performance indicators

In addition to many advantages, New Retail also has some disadvantages. Especially regarding data protection and compliance with the GDPR, brick-and-mortar retail with New Retail poses a challenge for many business owners. While brick-and-mortar retail and New Retail offer countless opportunities for modernization and technological advancement through customer tracking, many business owners are holding back due to the strict legal situation.

Financial resources, which are initially required for the expansion of central logistics centers and optimized processes in order picking, also discourage many business people. When focusing on the comparison of stationary retail vs. online retail, the following is striking. Key figures that work wonderfully in online retail can only be transferred to stationary retail to a limited extent.

In addition, the key indicators for New Retail are difficult to measure. Although this fact is currently still considered a disadvantage, it will be certain no longer be the case in the near future. The more New Retail conquers retail and innovative technologies and measures you integrate into stationary retail, the easier it will be to develop meaningful KPI metrics.


If you want to be successful in the future and bring customers back to brick-and-mortar retail, you have to make your products come to life. Detailed customer profiles and consistent linking of different channels are the basis of the New Retail.

Thanks to digital signage, personal assistants as well as social contacts and positive shopping experiences create sustainable customer loyalty. Customers want to experience services that offer added value. Fast payment options, personalized recommendations, easy access to product information through QR codes are only a small part of New Retail. Take advantage of the potential and shape your successful future!

Further Information on the topic of Retail

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Gravatar Nikolaos Sagiadinos
Author: Niko Sagiadinos
Developer & Co-Founder SmilControl – Digital Signage
Visit me on: LinkedIn or GitHub


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