Future Shopping – personal, easy, social
In the last article, we focused on challenges facing retailers and defined »smartness« as the success formula for the store of the future. It brings together all the factors relevant for long-term success. In the following, we will flesh out the potential that digitization provides for future shopping and highlight technologies that can be used profitably alongside an online-offline symbiosis.
»It’s all about experience« is, on the one hand, already a well-known fact, but on the other hand, it remains valid and is constantly evolving. The meaning of experience is becoming increasingly sophisticated and personal – technology is a significant contributor in this regard. Today, customers receive personalized offers if they have customer cards, and shop windows respond to their movements. Tomorrow, technology might know customers’ tastes better than they do, greet them personally and offer them customized experiences.
Convenience & shopping assistance
Will the world of tomorrow be free of wasted time? Intelligent technology has the potential to prevent stressful, time-consuming activities and to put the time gained towards more meaningful activities during future shopping. Retailers increasingly analyze the processes that customers go through in their stores and where inconvenience arises: For example, waiting at the checkout counter or endlessly searching for products both create dissatisfaction. Even dressing rooms don’t make for positive experiences for all customers. Digital technology will help elevate the word »comfort« to a new stage of evolution.
Personalization doesn’t only apply to experiences, but also to what the store ultimately sells: the products themselves. Digital systems could ensure that in the future we’ll only find a small selection of »basic products« in the store. Alternative designs, colors, patterns, and sizes would then be displayed on digital screens or projections without the product being physically available. Software solutions can also help select the appropriate outfit combinations for your individual style. Personalized digital design of your own garments with on-site 3D production processes could become the supreme discipline of product configuration.
When the first social media platforms emerged, no one had a clue that apps like Instagramwould become one of the most important advertising machines. Not all retailers have yet recognized the lucrative possibilities that social media provides. But we believe that these will increasingly be seen in the store. »Social experience« could be a significant step in the further development of an online-offline symbiosis. The first examples we’ve already seen in this regard are Social Walls: Customers share their shopping experience, become a part of the store for that time while also advertising the store in passing. The ratings, descriptions and testimonialsgenerated by social media in a smart and decentralized manner weave through the entire product range, for stationary businesses as well.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
There is much discussion around VR and AR. They are often dismissed as being temporary gimmicks and entertainment technologies. However, technological advances derived from gamingare constantly evolving. We believe that the possibilities in these technologies are in many ways underestimated, for example, the increasingly realistic option of being transported to a different world. It is quite possible that fashion enthusiasts would like to beam themselves to a fashion show, or that athletes would like to try out their latest achievements virtually in the wild.
Further publications to this topic: “smart concepts for smart stores”