The Future of Retail: Brands, Technology, and In-Store Shopping
Businesses in the United States are coming back to life, masks are being taken off, and Americans are ready to shed the underlying stress that the pandemic has induced.
The inception of COVID-19 led consumers to rely on long-standing and reputable brands and has heightened the public’s reliance on digital channels for online shopping.
As the country awakens, consumers are flocking back to their favorite largest retail store, only this time demanding more. With the pandemic’s acceleration of the evolving demands of the consumer, major retail brands are being compelled to level up.
At the peak of COVID-19, many business experts were convinced that online retailing would replace the retail store experience entirely. While there is no question that online shopping is here to stay, the market believes that bricks-and-mortar in-store experiences are just as valuable. Jean Jacques Guiony, LVMH’s Chief Financial Officer, states that the client experience in a retail store cannot be matched easily online. He adds that up until today, no one has found a miracle formula that would enable clients to enjoy online as much as they would in-store.
There is no denying that retail will continue to evolve, so here are the trends that we expect to see over the next decade.
An elevated approach to in-store shopping
Before the world came to a halt, a study in 2019 showed that in-store shopping was irreplaceable. Proving this true, innovative brands like Camp, a family experience company, have taken their in-store approach to a whole new level – incorporating products and activities for both kids and their parents to enjoy altogether.
Retail brands, specifically big box stores, will need to leverage scientific knowledge and technological data to learn about their consumers’ behavior. Solutions such as IoT technologies, computer vision, AI, and automation are creating new possibilities for retailers to discover new information, add to their strategies, and increase customer loyalty.
Retail establishments will have no choice but to incorporate virtual experiences and physical store activities to make the in-store customer stay longer.
Brands will need to put in the extra work.
With the uprise in resistance to sharing personal data, brands will need to find new ways to resonate with their audience. Presently, advertising agencies are seeing a decline in ad performance due to the lack of storytelling and abundance of empty noise.
Nordstrom plans to enhance their customer experience through Livestream Shopping, a virtual shopping experience that enables customers to seamlessly shop the products they see and ask questions of the experts hosting future events.
“We want to provide convenient access to our products and services while creating meaningful connections with our people, regardless of how they shop with us,” states Ken Worzel, Nordstrom’s Chief Operating Officer.
He continues, “Experiences that offer a personal touch will continue to be of value to customers and enable us to be closer to shoppers.”
Brands will need to look at themselves as experience designers, paving the path for a new generation of shoppers by 2030, enhancing their product line offerings and point of sale fashion.
Technology is a strategic imperative for retail to stay relevant and profitable.
According to a study by McKinsey and Company, by 2030, retailers will need to rethink all tasks and roles and make data-driven decisions about the order in which they roll out new technologies across regions that vary in their dependence on retail employment.
The future of shopping entails that there is technology everywhere. According to Brian Solis, Salesforce’s Global Innovation Evangelist, retailers can no longer build fixed structures and rely on a business model based on, “How much can we squeeze out of this design before we need a remodel?” He continues that the business model is remodeling, and that successful retail is about being agile, continuously evolving, and staying relevant.
He urges leaders in the retail business to think outside of the profitability box and act as investors. When running a team, he also adds that to execute upon vision and imagination so that team members who share the same values can move towards one common goal.
“People don’t see themselves as just engineers or developers; they see themselves as architects of the future. They’re attracted to brands that have similar values and visions for where the future can go.”
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