Dramatic shifts are coming over the next dozen years, brought on by the accelerated pace of new technology and changing consumer shopping patterns, says a new ‘Future of Retail’ study by Synchrony Financial. Besides contacting retailers and industry experts for input, Synchrony asked consumers what excites them about shopping in the future and their expectations of the evolving retail environment.
• Traditional checkout process will evolve with sales associates only needed for expertise. Utilizing in-store sensors, shoppers will pay with phone or fingerprint and depart.
• 24/7 Stores: after hours, shoppers will use a drive-thru window that is robot-assisted. Orders placed on iPad at window will be fetched and delivered to your car by a robot.
• Instant Try-On: Shoppers will upload pictures of themselves to a retailer app and see the apparel on their actual image rather than a model.
• Mass customization via 3-D printers, including shoes, and 3D shopping via an outfit shown on a hologram.
• Successful retailers that focus on “doing one or two things well, not trying to be everything to everyone.”
• Retailers that know their customers better through RFID in phones and wearable to finger and palm scanners. This will allow retailers to direct them to preferred in-store items and send immediate and individualized sales offers.
• Brick-and-mortar stores that focus more on delivering genuine brand and blended in-store experiences through coffee shops, cafes, music, bars or complimentary samplings of services or products.
• Better ways of making returns from online purchases.
• More interactive mirrors in dressing rooms. Shoppers will touch them for product information, to request another size from an associate or to order and buy from the dressing room.
• Greater use of digital assistants—largely an expert network on an app, curated to shoppers’ needs—will replace biased retail associate opinions.