In short order, eCommerce online retail created a revolution which left stores stunned. But thanks to the latest technologies and new approaches to competitive retail pricing and assortment management, mobile and social data collection, big data analytics, and augmented technology, the battle has been rejoined. This time, both online retailers and brick & mortar retailers are putting the latest technology to use, bringing changes in how to deal with and approach the competition… and, as the customer also makes use of the new technologies to get information, shop, buy, and pay, one thing is certain: The retail world will never be the same.
Here are several predictions made by a number of retail, marketing, and technology analysts and experts on what they believe retail will look like in the future, from the USA Today article, Why shopping will never be the same. See if you can determine which predictions are coming true and which ones you think will not happen.*
1. Less Merchandise In Stores. There will be less merchandise in the store, as brick-and-mortar stores offer only special products that distinguish them from Web competitors.
2. No Merchandise In Stores. Retail stores won't stock any merchandise.
3. More Touch & Feel Experiences. Retail stores will be there for a "touch and feel" experience only. (Big-box stores such as Best Buy, Old Navy and Office Depot will shrink to become test centers for online purchases).
4. Digital fitting rooms. Based on weight, height and measurements, technology can simulate body types and how fabrics fit. High-tech mirrors will show how clothes look on a consumer who simply stands in front of an LCD monitor.
5. 3-D Printing. Clothing and pharmaceuticals, hearing aids and towels will be produced in the home via affordable 3-D printers.
6. Shipping. ALL purchases will be shipped to you.
7. Satellite Stores. Satellite stores will open in apartment buildings and office centers.
8. Refrigerated Home Delivery. FedEx and UPS will delve deeper into refrigerated home delivery.
9. Google trucks will deliver local services.
10. Consumers will shop from their kitchens. A digital screen on a refrigerator will allow orders from home, with a delivery service dropping off the products.
11. Touch Store Window To Order. Shoppers can just touch a store window in town or at a bus-stop kiosk to order goods.
12. Order While Traveling. Travelers can just touch a digital menu in a store window at a duty-free shop to order goods for shipping that will be delivered before the customer arrives home.
13. New Interactive Devices. Consumers won't need a smartphone any more to get an interactive glimpse of what they want.
14. Digital Billboards. There'll be digital billboards on every conceivable surface.
15. Smartphone Uses Multiply. Wave your smartphone over products and see what's inside.
16. Activate More Information. Hold your phone over a DVD's bar code to activate a movie trailer on the phone's screen.
17. Get Instructional Information. Hold your phone over a product to get instructional information.
18. Virtual Stores On Subways. Subways will contain virtual stores in which consumers wave their smartphones at bar codes to order. The goods will be delivered before the commuter arrives home.
Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line:
1. Rapidly evolving technologies and applications are creating new ways for retailers to gather information and meet the competition.
2. Retailers are using new technologies and collected information to woo, wow, and win the customer.
3. The customer is also using new technologies to make competitive retail shopping (and buying) decisions -- both online and at brick and mortar stores.
4. My overall prediction: Retail will never be the same.
*I'd love to hear your comments on what you think about the predictions that are already here or on their way -- and those that you don't think will happen. Thanks. Gilon
Next blog post: More on the technologies and developments that are shaping the future of retail.