Shopping and consumer behaviour are changing, so here we look at another three things affecting the future of retail.
Stores will have to build relationships with customers
It is imperative that retailers listen to their customers and strive to meet their increasing demands. Consumers do not like delays or overall poor shopping experiences – these can remain with them and any future dealings with the same retailer can arouse these unfortunate memories.
A seamless shopping experience
No friction will be the future and more and more retailers will be working towards securing long-term customers in a very demanding and competitive world. Physical shops will remain, but it is expected that stores will move away from their role as an impersonal place of transaction to a place where management and staff build a sound, long-term relationship with consumers.
Brands will use the offline experience to create opportunities for shoppers to connect with their range of products. The adoption of in-house technology will be one of the deciding factors regarding which chains survive. Retail still has a bright future, despite the growth in online shopping, but successful brands will have to offer customers a unique experience.
Technology will take a further step
Technology will go that one step further as shopping experiences continue to evolve, with some firms trialling virtual reality rooms and even robot assistants. The technology most likely to be a future driver is artificial intelligence, with retailers using data gathered from their customer list to offer a range of personalised services. When customers shop on retail platforms, they are handing the retailers a sizeable amount of information.
According to the National Retail Federation, the future of retail is not all about robots; instead, it will be focused on experiences and service powered by behind-the-scenes technology.
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More and more customers are using their smartphones to compare prices, look up grocery essentials or gift ideas, and even make purchases. By 2020, it is estimated that around two-thirds of all online purchases will be carried out on mobile devices.