The following is a guest post by Michael Griffiths, Vice President, Commerce Solutions, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions.
In another decade, the world will be even more crowded, consuming and connected. One billion new members will join the city-dwelling urban consumer class and 90% of the earth’s inhabitants will have a smartphone. That means the consumer retail experience can only get even more high-tech and low-touch than it is now. Right?
Not exactly. Despite consumers’ love of retail channel-hopping, the research shows that brick-and-mortar stores will remain the lynchpin of the shopping experience — even in 2025. Consumers want store plus digital, not store or digital.
Studies by Toshiba and the IBM Institute for Business Value show that even the heaviest users of technology for shopping fully expect to be engaged by brands while inside the store. For example, so-called “Trailblazers” value abilities like buying online but returning in-store or looking up out-of-stock items while in-store and getting them shipped to their home.
People are already “omnichannel,” switching effortlessly between mobile, computer and in-store. Advances like the Internet of Things, wearable tech and smart sensors will add many new channels and touchpoints.
This explosion of channels is a great opportunity for retailers to now enable omnichannel at every level (including inside transactions) and provide better access to more personalized promotions, merchandise, shopping history and more. Ensuring your store associates have access to those touchpoints will enable them to truly “know” the customer and are a direct path to customer loyalty.
Looking ahead, my guess is that we won’t be getting to the mall in our flying cars, but here are the ways I do think technology will shape the Store of 2025:
- Knows who you are, what you’re doing, and how you feel — and will change the level of engagement based on that
- Highly designed, information-rich and mediated by a layer of the consumer’s choosing
- Sales associates will have digital supplements, for instance a web app on a tablet.
- Analytics, automation, and old-fashioned labor will combine to drive service levels
- Both traditional and non-traditional POS
- Set up for multiple types of fulfillment
The true measure of success won’t be how many channels the retailer can support, it will be a customer experience so seamless that the consumer doesn’t think about multiple channels at all.
About the author:
Michael Griffiths is Vice President, Commerce Solutions, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions with worldwide responsibility for point of commerce application software as well as self-service solutions and the expansion of strategic solutions and associated services. Michael oversees all management decisions associated with these solutions, including investment and policy direction. Michael’s career has been anchored in building global retail businesses (both hardware and software) at global technology companies like Microsoft and NCR. Michael holds a Master of Business Administration and Information Technology, graduating with honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.