What’s on the horizon for the future store, and the future shopper? As the digital retail landscape takes shape, retailers are recognizing the rewards of harnessing vast amounts of data to find patterns in shopping behavior and deliver the most personalized shopping experience possible. In this guest blog post, Jon Bird of Y&R Labstore offers a glimpse at what he believes the retail landscape will look like in the not-so-distant future. ~Dave McKinney
Future Shop: How Technology is Changing the Store
Once retail plans were measured in years. Now they’re calibrated in months and days. To keep up with the new shopper, retailers need to be ever more agile and flexible with their product roadmaps and store executions.
In the old days, it was possible to be brand-centric and ask the consumer to follow your lead. No more. Today’s shoppers are calling the shots. And they expect a shopping experience that’s personalized and centered on their wants and needs. What precisely are they demanding? Their expectations are evolving as fast as technology can meet them.
But if you zoom out, it’s possible to see the big picture of where things are going and make decisions that will shape your brand in the right way.
Digital shoppers see technology as a vital part of their lives and their environments.
Shoppers now live and breathe digital, in all aspects of their lives. They expect retailers and brands to do the same.
At Y&R Labstore, we’re helping retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands to embrace innovation via technology and stay a step ahead of their customers. Using big data analytics and the Internet of Things, we help brands collect and manage information about shoppers to drive brand decisions.
For Y&R Labstore to remain ahead of the curve, we work closely with Intel on a constant mission: transforming and reinventing the store and enabling brands to personally connect with the shopper. Using technology, we can scale experiences to millions of shoppers while keeping every shopper’s visit personalized. And that’s pretty much the holy grail.
What should retailers do?
Retailers must first and foremost be shopper-centric, understanding customers’ expectations and solving their problems. The only way to do that is to make sense of the tsunami of available data. Once you see the patterns in the data, you can find the harmony between the shopper’s expectations and the brand’s delivery. Technology can help scale these efforts of response and identify the correct timing to maximize effect. Think of technology as the ultimate enabler.
Imagine if you could understand what each shopper is thinking and provide the service they expect the moment they enter the store door. That’s real innovation. And that day is closer than we think.
Data fusion, real-time decision-making, knowing shoppers by name, creating a conversation with shoppers, and being predictive open a whole new opportunity to provide the right products and services based on reliable data. There’s a widening gap between leaders and laggards. The leaders are producing results based on smart analytics; the laggards are stuck in the old model of simple analytics (or worse, gathering data and not putting it to good use).
As the thought-leaders at Intel often remind me, to survive and thrive, you need to innovate at the speed of the Internet. This means clearly understanding how the shopping journey has changed from physical to virtual. About two-thirds of the journey now begins at home. Brands must become available online and hold the relationship with the consumer as they merge both shopping worlds. Brands must also make decisions closer to the consumer. Right now, that means becoming fully digital. Tomorrow, that will mean something else. The key is to stay on top of the trends through sensing, analysis, and learning—and then to respond with action.