The traditional retail model that we currently know is about to undergo a major paradigm shift. According to an article on Retail Customer Experience summarizing “The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business For The New Age of Consumerism,” by RCE blogger Doug Stephens, big data, increased processing power, and hyper-connectedness will lead the way to a new digital future in retail.
From the article:
The future will see consumers move between anywhere convenience and only-here experiences. Increasingly it will not be the consumer who travels to the store, but the products that travel to the consumer in a completely seamless, serendipitous and relevant way. Consumers will regulate their interests, control their privacy and dictate many of the terms of engagement. And if a brand doesn’t like it, consumers will simply move down the list until they find a one that does.
And where will all this stuff we’re buying on the fly be delivered? Well, players like Amazon and 7-Eleven are already testing drop boxes in select 7-Eleven locations, allowing for seven-day-a-week deliveries that consumers can pick up at their convenience. And UK’s ShopBox has developed lockable, refrigerated containers that are placed outside the home to hold deliveries of just about anything, including perishables.
This is not a shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce—it’s much broader than that. In fact, as we as consumers, gradually become the destination, we’ll stop discerning so much between online and offline retail. Channels of distribution won’t matter. Goods and services will simply come to us, or wherever it’s convenient. Or, when we are given the promise of a memorable, one-of-a-kind live experience, we’ll visit a store.
In time, there will be very few consumer decisions in our lives that our digital assistants won’t be able to help us navigate, and this navigation will not always lead us to a retail transaction in the classical sense.