What Does the Future Hold For Retail?
As time goes on shopping can become a chore. Who wants to waste time travelling to their local and hauling back their weekly shop, when they could easily order it online? Big Commerce reported that 67% of millennials prefer shopping online rather than in store, but this begs the question: What does the future hold for retail?
There’s no doubt that retail is shifting online, with Retail Economics reporting that in July of 2016 online retail sales rose by a whopping 17.3% y-o-y, comparing to in-store retail sales, only rising by 1.7%. However, retailers are ready to take on this challenge and provide consumers with the convenience they want, without sacrificing in-store sales. Tesco are now trialing “Check-out free” shops. BBC News reported that Tesco “has given some staff a smartphone app to use at a store at the company’s headquarters”, staff then scan the products they want to purchase and pay via the app, skipping any need for a till. The experiment is at a “very early stage” and Tesco says that “It is concerned that checkout-free stores might be a target for shoplifters and, as it operates on very fine profit margins, that could make the technology unviable.”
Co-op is also experimenting with similar technology and stalwarts Amazon already have a checkout free store in Seattle, which opened to the public back in January. It had massive queues forming right from the start, showing that consumers are ready for the next step in convenient shopping!
There’s little doubt that Amazon will continue to disrupt the retail sector, innovating at every step. But, they’re not the only ones trying to push the boundaries of retail. Back in 2014, Walmart debuted their ‘Drive-Through’ supermarket. It had a mixed reception, with some loving the convenience and others questioning the need for its existence. These ‘Drive-Throughs’ are more like pickup points, where the consumer orders their shopping online and picks it up via the drive-through. This doesn’t seem to have been ‘picked up’ by competitors, with more and more companies offering home delivery. A pickup point may be convenient, but not as much as getting your shopping delivered to your door!
However, innovation when it comes to retail doesn’t stop at well-known stores…Social networks like Facebook are trying their hand at buying/selling. “Buy” buttons are now the norm on a lot of social platforms, allowing consumers to scroll through their feed and buy whatever their heart desires quickly and easily. Yotpo.voice reported that Instagram was “scaling to 800 million users at the end of 2017”, so it’s no surprise companies are utilising it to sell products as well as share content. With the number of users on social platforms growing, it’s only a matter of time before social commerce is the new norm.
From checkout-less shops to social commerce, there’s a big future ahead for retail, wherever it may lead consumers.
Will in-store shopping soon become a thing of the past? Or does the future not necessarily mean the end of stores?
Let us know, we’d love to hear from you! Be sure to check out our blog on if the future of shopping is voice here!
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