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Are You Prepared For The Retail Environment Of The Future?

Computer keyboard with special button for shopping online

The future of retail is knocking on the front door. By next year, purchases through mobile devices will make up about 14 percent of in-store sales, according research firm Deloitte. In addition, Deloitte predicts that physical stores could soon primarily serve as “showrooms,” where customers check out products at the store, but then make the purchase online. 

Those are just some of the changes being spurred on by today’s digitally savvy consumers, an article on the Retail Digital website explains. 

For example, Forrester Research predicts 44 percent of store sales will be influenced by digitally connected retail, such as mobile point-of-sale (POS) stations, mobile apps and location positioning technology. 

Apple Retail Stores are on the leading edge of many of these approaches. Apple relies on a mobile POS system rather than the traditional cash register. That means all of the employees are out on the sales floor helping the customers to make purchasing decisions. Then, when the customers are ready to buy, the employees can ring up the sale right there on the floor. 

Luxury brand Burberry is another company providing a preview of the future of retail. As the Retail Digital article notes, articles of clothing are embedded with radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices, which trigger a nearby display to show information about that item. 

RFID tags are still a bit too costly for most retailers to use throughout the entire store. At today’s prices, putting RFID tags on every piece of clothing is expensive and labor-intensive. Sure, RFID tags hold a lot of information, but retailers must gather all of that information and load it into the tag. The technology is going to have to get simpler and less expensive before it becomes commonplace for retailers. However, there’s no doubt that this is the direction retailers are moving in. 

Looking for some more advice and tips on how to adapt to the retail environment of the future? Consider these three suggestions from the Retail Digital article. 

  1. Use mobile technology: Mobile POS or mobile checkouts encourage customer interaction and make it easier to track inventory in real time.
  2. Play matchmaker: Suggesting or personalizing products to each customer will improve sales.
  3. Build customer loyalty through brand experiences: Transform customers into brand ambassadors by providing rich brand experiences, such as storytelling through social media or promotional initiatives.

Source: Retail Digital, April 2013