2016 brought continuing discussions around bridging the offline and online shopper experiences, but the future of shopping is set to thrive and adapt further over the next few years – with the stores of the future holding technology at their core. Martin Bais looks at what’s in-store for retail into 2017 and beyond.
‘BOPIS’ takes to the floor
In 2017, point-of-sale (POS) will move out from behind the counter and become accessible anywhere in a store. We will see further adoption of self-service digital touchscreen kiosks enabling in-store e-commerce, endless aisle, and buy-online/pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), in addition to traditional POS capabilities, making it easier for sales associates to engage and conduct transactions with customers throughout the store.
By blending the best of both online and in-store, retailers will create seamless omnichannel shopping capabilities that enhance customer experience and brand loyalty potential.
The 360 customer journey loop
We can safely say that by the end of 2017, nearly every, if not all major stores – and smaller chains and boutique outlets too – will have a digital screen pride of place. We’re already seeing the smallest outlets integrate digital into stores in this way and it’s set to continue and grow. By placing digital in-store, the retailer’s capability to offer their entire stock is instantly available with “endless aisle” product selections, offers and video to entice to the customer.
And it won’t stop there – stores will become fully immersed environments filled with the personalized experiences enhanced further with the use of connected fitted rooms starting to become the norm. Beyond 2017, we will see interactive fitting rooms and digital clothes rails – making a shopping experience more interactive and informed.
The artificial reality of retail
Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality and chatbots were just a few of the talked about big trends of 2016 - they’re inescapable. And as the technology advances for all, so will their popularity, not only among consumers, but with retailers too as they begin to see the benefits tied to customer engagements.
As the consolidation of equipment grows, along with the drive and interest from consumers, we’re likely to start seeing the first real integrations of AI throughout stores - there to help consumers with questions or deal with product requests if sales assistants are busy helping other customers.
Maarten Bais, VP, GM, EMEA, India, Elo
Image source: Shutterstock/Pretty Vectors