Three ways that technology is reshaping the retail landscape
Big data, artificial intelligence and new technology is turning old truths upside down. We outline three big trends that we have identified.
#1 The data economy leads to hyper personalization
The emergence of AI and the use of big data and algorithms as basis for business decisions, much as we see online, is about to impact retail as a whole. All touchpoints must be optimized to capture high-quality data that can be used. As a consequence, tomorrow’s retail will consist of hyper-personalized experiences. At every touchpoint – physical and digital – each interaction between brand and customer will be unique. However, customers won’t give up their precious data for free. In a tit-for-tat data economy, retailers must offer something valuable in return in exchange for customers’ data.
#2 The merge of bricks and clicks becomes something totally new
In most sectors, there will be no room for digital-only or physical-only retailers – everything will be omnichannel. However, the roles for physical and digital channels will change – sometimes merging the best of the two worlds. This fusion creates new, and changes the functions of old, touchpoints. Physical stores must adapt to a digital society and e-retailers must learn the tricks of the trade from brick and mortar stores. New formats, new store sizes, information outlets and delivery methods will emerge from the fusion slurry that is omnichannel today.
#3 The rise of the machines changes retail service
As automation and artificial intelligence penetrate our society further, retail’s service offering will change completely. The first big shift will be the automation of customer information and search. The second will be the automation in mundane and repetitive tasks such as keeping inventory or handling payments, just as many factory jobs have been replaced by machines. With smarter machines, we will also see an increasing amount of robots being used in store customer service. Retail employees must instead become relationship builders, decision makers, problem solvers and influencers for their brands.