The future of retail

With the increase in technical innovations and connected devices, consumers expectations of their shopping experience are higher than ever. Retailers who want to survive will need to move quickly and adopt new strategies designed to deliver a seamless and engaging customer experience. Designers will need to consider simplicity, mobility, technologies, and other influential factors to ensure a best-in-class user experience across digital and physical. Below are trends shaping the future of retail.

From Omni-Channel to Customer as the Channel

The lines between physical and digital shopping have blurred with consumers regularly browsing, comparing, and buying across multiple channels. An omnichannel strategy alone is not enough to solve shopper or retailer needs. Consumers expect an on-demand shopping experience that delivers what they need, when they need it, in a fast and convenient way. For example, a customer might find inspiration on Instagram, research options on Etsy, buy the product in-person at a retail store, and then talk to customer service through a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. The customer is the channel and retailers must provide a seamless and transparent experience that understands and supports them anywhere in their journey from discovering products to buying products.

Smarter Shopping (Data Driven Retail)

Shoppers want tailored experiences that will help to simplify their shopping journey. Think fast, easy, and convenient. They value personalized experiences and will increasingly turn to digital text and voice assistants, for curated recommendations, proximity-based personalized deals and offers and on-demand delivery.

The only way to deliver this smarter shopping experience to shoppers is through data. The power of data enables retailers and brands to better understand hyper-connected shoppers, their preferences and and to predict behavior that provides contextual experiences that delight.

Shopping as an Experience

Venues and retailers will need to differentiate themselves by creating unique environments so shoppers view them as a destination. Strategies such as opening smaller format or pop-up stores, offering lounging areas with charging stations and free wifi, and leveraging technologies such as mixed reality, will play a bigger role in the shopping experience. 

Key Takeaways

Deeply understand your customer’s journey. Ensure the experiences you create are in context of what they need at that moment. Take into consideration elements such as device, environment and technology. 

Create an emotional connection. Use qualitative and big data to understand customer’s emotional motivators throughout their journey. Use this understanding to help fulfill their underserved needs and desires, which will help create trust and loyalty.

Personalize the experience. Identify where you can personalize the experience to add value and increase engagement.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating exceptional multi-touchpoint experiences, check out Cooper’s Service Design Immersive

Photo by Clark Street Mercantile on Unsplash

Carrie Whitehead

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