data chart for the evolution of customers

Evolution Of Retail And Its Customers

If retail doesn’t evolve with its customers they will struggle to survive in these competitive markets. Being aware of how customers change and the phases retail has gone through can support business owners in shifting their strategies. Let’s go through the retail evolutions.

Retail 1.0

At this stage, retailers are physical stores that are self-serving for their customers. Examples of this would be gas stations and any small store where you pick up your item before buying. They have one channel of service which is solely the physical store.

Retail 2.0

With this evolution of retail lies all the departmental stores such as Supermarkets and Hypermarkets. Stores like these usually reside near a major town and cater to a massive audience who love a wide selection. These markets are typically owned by large organizations.

Retail 3.0

Here technology starts to become king with the e-Commerce technology boom and global selling. Customers can now start ordering without leaving the comfort of their own home. Technology is really important to 3.0 retailers and drives the majority of their business.

Retail 4.0

This is where mCommerce(mobile phones) and social media start taking a strong presence in retail. Stores start to become Multi and Omni-channeled by having their income stream from store, online, and mobile.

Retail 5.0

The newest stage of retail has reimagined physical stores that possess self-checkout systems as well as AI and robots. Going back to the physical store might seem like a step backward but costumes are really looking for a reason to go out. Mixing the latest tech with a brick and mortar store excites customers to try the newest convenient innovation.


Retail stores are constantly pushing themselves to innovate so that they keep up with what their customers want. Silent Generation prefers brick and mortar stores, Baby Boomers love options, Gen-X shops online, and Millenials who are Omni-channel buyers. With Post-Millenials slowly entering the market Retail 6.0 is just around the corner.