Why You Can’t Trust Expert Predictions About the Retail Industry?

Pooja Agnihotri
4 min readJul 2, 2021


Are you one of those business owners who find themselves googling ‘predictions for retail business’ or ‘tech predictions for retail business’ to figure out the next big thing in the market? A prediction that can help you rise up the ladder of success and hopefully transform your business into a super-successful business-like ‘Amazon’.

Have you wondered how accurate these predictions are? And how much can you trust them? What if they don’t go as expected?

Retail predictions for 2021

The first thing to remember is that business predictions are generally made based on data and sometimes based on a desire to innovate new ideas that will be needed to reshape this world for the better. But how to find the unicorn in the sea of donkeys?

This article is about understanding more about business and tech predictions and figuring out a method to analyze those. Predictions accurately can move your online retail business.

The Journey From Retail To eRetail

We all are aware of the power of eRetail now. But how did people feel about this entire concept of shopping through a device and not going to the store in the past? Many predictions made in the early years, before the internet became so popular, were actually not in the favor of eRetail.

Many big magazines including ‘TIME’ published articles on this topic. They argued that such a concept will never catch on as you can’t sell clothing from a distance because women like to touch the merchandise, try the dress, and then buy.

And they will never change their shopping habits from visiting brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping.

Guess what more than 69% of people including women in the USA shop online. Many retail businesses that relied on that prediction have definitely hurt their chances of incomparable success.

On the other hand, Jeffo Bezos figured out the rise of online shopping at the right time and created a super successful e-commerce empire.

Why Did Retail Predictions Fail Many Times?

Let’s understand this by studying the example shared above. The base of that prediction was ‘women like to touch their fabrics before buying those.’

The entire foundation of this prediction is inaccurate on so many levels. Let’s analyze that one by one.

Women are time-starved people. In one survey, when asked what is the one thing they want, they said more ‘time.’ The first thing we have to remember is that most of the women are trying to juggle with so many roles at the same time. From taking care of their kids to taking care of the business, they are getting busier than ever.

Having understood that, the next thing to understand is that the touch of any fabric doesn’t exceed the ease and convenience of online shopping. The ability to shop whenever you have time is far better than shopping within the 8 hrs time range.

Now, they can shop at 12 am when their kids have gone to bed or they can shop while enjoying a subway ride.

One thing that stands true about this prediction is that women love experiencing the texture of their fabrics. But that is not a reason to get rid of the entire concept of online shopping.

If you ignore the complete aspect of convenience over the feel of merchandise, you are looking at the issue from every angle.

What Can Be Done?

The best thing you can do as a business owner is to figure out how to provide the ‘feel the fabric’ experience and the ease of online shopping at the same time.

Amazon provides free returns which is a great way of building confidence among the shoppers and if, after touching the fabric, a shopper doesn’t like the product, they can easily return it.

Another thing that was wrong with this prediction was focusing only on women. Women are the main shoppers especially when it comes to clothing but men are also not far behind. 72% of men shop online in the USA and many of those are shopping even clothes.

The main reason why so many predictions fail is that they are not made from a customer-centric view.

We have to see a problem from every angle to analyze it. That’s why the question is not what you think will work in the future, the question is this something that will add customer value.”

How To Successfully Analyze Predictions?

The art of successfully analyzing any prediction is to not lose your focus on your customers. Whenever you hear of any prediction, you have to figure out if it’s going to make your customers’ lives better or not. Predictions accurately can move your online retail business.

Here are the two important questions you should answer.

Is this prediction going to make my customer’s life convenient?

Is this prediction going to save their time and make their lives easier?

If yes, then there is no point fighting it. You should analyze other angles related to the viability of this prediction. And everything seems picture-perfect, then go ahead make it a part of your business.

Key Takeaway

There are no rules for finding out what will work and what will not. These are predictions, after all. But if these predictions are made from a customer-centric view and are based on data, then you can invest more time and energy in learning about these and eventually adopting these in your business.

You can learn about various other mistakes that many businesses make in the book “17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail”. The secret to success in business isn’t doing what other successful people have done; it’s by avoiding the mistakes made by businesses that have failed. Instead of repeating their mistakes, now we can learn from them and best ensure business growth and commercial success.



Pooja Agnihotri

Experienced marketer and a published book author, Pooja Agnihotri, is on a mission to save businesses from themselves.