The future in 2014

3 years ago by in Research, The Fashion Retailscape

What is missing among all of the (extrapolated) numbers (see Online in the past, present and future) is a more qualitative picture of the changes that will take place: What will be the innovations that will ensure more is sold online or that consumers still go to the stores? It is true that all of the Shopping2020 reports are interspersed with examples of innovations, from a more science fiction type character (the ‘Sight’-video on to the constantly recurring Google Glass. However, the examples are used for illustrative purposes only. There is no systematic inventory of the changes currently taking place in the retail sector, and that can be regarded as being the forerunner of what will become reality by 2020, with the exceptions of the Kega publications (2013, 2014). The scenarios outlined earlier have such a system within them, and, what is more, the pictures outlined are often abstract (Shopping2020, 2014a) or have limited view, such as a technological view (Hofste & Teeuw, 2012). The choice of a limited number of uncertainties when developing scenarios also means a full description can never be given of all innovations.

In September 2013 the research group together with the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) started a study of innovations in fashion retail on the basis of two fundamental principles. The first fundamental principle concerns the method of classifying all found occurrences, for which a mix of taxonomy and typology was chosen. A taxonomy is a systematic classification of aspects based on observations. By observing many occurrences, many of their aspects are classified into similarities and differences. The result is often a hierarchical classification, such as the taxonomy of species in flora and fauna. Whilst a taxonomy starts on the basis of observed occurrences, a typology starts on the basis of a concept. The distinctive properties potential occurrences could normally possess are devised and the actual occurrences are then classified in accordance with these rules. We then talk about ‘types’ as opposed to ‘kinds’ as in the case of a taxonomy. One can say that taxonomies are created empirically or inductively and that typologies are created conceptually or by deduction. To make an inventory of the innovations in fashion retail we have opted to work at the highest level using conceptual classification (typology) and then use two levels ‘below’ that have resulted in ‘kinds’ of innovations on the basis of observations (taxonomy). The decision to work at the highest level using a typology arises from the framework that has been developed for examining new services (see Van Vliet, 2014).

The second fundamental principle concerns the typology to be used for the innovations. As a typology we have opted for the STOF model (Haaker, 2012). The STOF model is part of the STOF methodology, a design method for business models. The STOF model describes business models on the basis of four associated domains: the Service domain (the added value of the service), the Technology domain (the technical functionality and architecture required in the service), the Organisation domain (the network of parties involved and the processes for delivering the service) and the Financial domain (the method of income generation and the sharing of risks, investments and income across the various actors in the network). It is from these four domains that the methodology derives its name.

For the time being, these fundamental principles have resulted in the following classifications for the innovations that have been found (table below). The actual inventory of innovations in fashion retail is published on this website. The regularly updated inventory on the website can be viewed as ‘data’ that can be part of future research. We shall now examine the four innovation domains further, give a few examples and describe a particular development for each domain in more detail.

STOF tabel

STOF tabel STOF tabel


STOF tabel Previous blog in series: Online in the past, present and future

Next blog in series: Service innovation



Haaker, T. (ed.). 2012. Creating robust business models. Practical tools to harness your business. Enschede: Novay.

Hofste, M. & W. Teeuw (Red.). 2012. Winkel van de toekomst, toekomst van de winkel? Enschede: Saxion, kenniscentrum Design en Technologie.

Kega. 2013. The cross-channel challenge. A guide to the future of retail. Sassenheim: Kega.

—2014. Facing the new retail reality. How to become a cross-channel champion? Sassenheim: Kega.

Van Vliet, H. 2014. Cross-mediascapes. Amsterdam: Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

Professor Cross-media at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

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