Retail experts believe that the current retail environment will change dramatically in the next 5-10 years. With the “convergence of smartphone technology, social-media data, and futuristic technology,” the current bricks-and-mortar format will be upended.
According to retail analysts, consumers and retailers can expect to see some of the following changes in the very near future:
• Big-box stores such as Best Buy, Old Navy, and Office Depot, will shrink in size
and place more emphasis on becoming test centers for online purchases. Satellite stores for big-box and other retailers will begin opening in office and apartment buildings.
• FedEx and UPS will expand home delivery services and offer more options for refrigerated home delivery. Google will offer shipping services that deliver products from local businesses.
• 3-D printers will allow customers to produce their own products like towels and clothing.
• No one will use cash, rather products will be paid for via smart phones.
• Experts believe that the in-store experience will not be extinct, but will change dramatically. For example, sales associates will probably know consumers’ interest before the consumer even walks in the store. This information will be gathered from the consumers’ smartphone or tablet. Consumers can use their phone to learn more about products. For example, consumers will be able to wave their phone over the bar code of a DVD and see a movie trailer on their phones.
Smartphones, the continued use of cash, augmented reality, and social media are all driving these dramatic shifts in the retail environment.
Online retailing began as a way to make customers more aware of retailers’ brands. Now, retailers are using technology to determine customers’ shopping habits as well as customers’ future purchases. For consumers, there is a tradeoff between privacy and convenience and many customers don’t recognize how much privacy they are giving up.
Source: Jon Swartz, “Why Shopping Will Never Be the Same,” USA Today, August 8, 2012
It is difficult to tell whether or not these changes are for the good or the worse in the future. I believe these changes will change the whole thrill of shopping and joy because it will eliminate any wandering and make it easier to find only what you are looking for. This will also make transactions easier and allow people to buy more products, which will take away the importance of buying just one or two products at a time. This could also be a positive thing, especially for businesses because they have much better means of advertising due to the improved market research methods and a more focused group of consumers. I think this will be hard for older generations to get used to, but these changes create a lot of potential for shopping among younger generations.
Courtney F. said:
This article was extremely interesting to see how our shopping experience will change in the coming years to advance with technology and peoples preferences. It is thought-provoking to think that Cyber Monday has become more popular than Black Friday because more people shop online instead of going to a store. This is because it is more convenient to shop online, in the comfort of your own home, compared to in a busy department store crowded with people looking for bargains.
Justin Laurenzo said:
I’ve definitely noticed a change in my shopping habits already. Hardly ever do I go to stores anymore because online shopping has become so much easier, quicker, and provides for a huge selection that wouldn’t be possible only in a store. Unless I know I need to try something on or need to get fitted, chances are I’ll just go online and see if I can find what I need there. And more likely than not, they have what I need or want online. In addition, once you shop online, you never stop getting emails from that store or website. These emails can be really enticing, especially around the holiday season or a birthday. Catchy email subjects like “20% off new trends for next season” or “major deals for the upcoming season/holidays” provide justification for opening the email and looking around online. Also, once you start on online account, everything you look at and have purchased is tracked and recorded, so they do a good job or providing “other things you may like.”
Shawn C. said:
I think it is very interesting, in this article, how the idea of the in-store experience will change. The idea that the employees will be able to know what the potential customer interests are before they even walk in the store will innovate the world of selling drastically. This new concept can assist businesses in large holiday sales, more importantly in eliminating the craziness that comes along with holiday shopping . The new technology could in essence direct potential customers in a store as to where certain items in the store are which could eliminate the “hunt” for finding items which in certain situations leads to injuries and deaths for example during Black Friday. The move to this new in-store experience can make shopping more fun, interactive and more concise as to what the consumer wants.