Shopping has changed immeasurably in the past decade. Ten years ago, for the most part, customers walked into brick-and-mortar stores to browse, buy and exchange goods.
Today, over half of all purchases (in the U.S.) are made online and this number is growing.
So what will retail look like in another ten years?
There is a lot of innovation in retail – from retailers themselves but also technology providers and system integrators. There are smart stores using the Internet of Things, connecting it to the entire enterprise to improve staff productivity and customer engagement. Some retailers are trying to streamline and automate processes to remove non-value added steps.
There is a lot of innovation around delivery, from wheeled robotic delivery vehicles to location-based services where you can buy online and collect in-store – and the order is ready for you when you get near the collection point. There are smart stores where you do not even have to queue or stop to pay at checkout.
I believe that in ten years’ time we will see the following:
- Regular purchases will be automatically replenished and delivered
- Routine tasks will be automated so staff can focus on customer service (with help from technology)
- Artificial intelligence robo-advisors and intelligent personal assistants will improve the customer experience
- Surge pricing will smooth out spikes, changing prices depending upon time of day and customer profile
- Automatic checkout and payment will be standard - queueing will be eliminated
- Augmented and virtual reality will re-define shopping, giving “try before you buy” a whole new meaning
- Stores and operations will deploy remote monitoring where head office can adjust for real-time sales performance
- Supply chains will self-heal - AI and predictive analytics will help retailers redeploy resources to meet demand
There is so much that can be done using technology. Retailers are looking for just three things from their technology: insight, efficiency and smart response.
Check out our video here to see what retail will look like in ten years.