Shopping for the Future

From the increasing prominence of Cyber Monday to the free next day shipping of Amazon Prime, more and more shoppers are turning to digital means for their primary sources of shopping. Long gone are the days that the mall was the central hub for browsing and socializing. For millennials, it’s all digital 24/7.

In the past year alone, the digital consumer experience has been shaken by the mobile buy button. The new technology seamlessly integrated into social media platforms to allow for one touch purchasing through non-retail sites. These options mean that customers no longer need to disrupt their browsing experience to complete a purchase.

This shift represents further simplicity in the lives of shoppers. If a consumer sees something they like on Facebook, with one tap, they can purchase it. No longer do they need to use a link to get the company site.

The buy button is just the beginning though. New advancements in virtual reality will allow customers to have the most realistic experience of using a potential purchase possible without actually having the product itself. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of how virtual reality can and will transform the way consumers experience and participate with retailers.

One of the first widely used examples of this was seen with clothing and eyewear retailers that allowed shoppers to upload images of themselves to virtually superimpose the products onto themselves to see how they would look in real life. These technologies are only going to increase over the coming year with new uses to include a virtual test drive to experience what it is like to drive a convertible or motorcycle without ever setting foot in a dealership.

Consumers — and millennials in particular — are spending more time attached to their smartphones than ever before. Retailers continue to take advantage of this connectivity by increasing marketing capabilities through geolocation technology. We will continue to see more and more retailers using GPS location notifications to serve promotions and deals to consumers in the vicinity of their stores. This technology brings digital services back to the brick and mortar store.

As exciting as these predictions for retail technology are, there are even more trends that are sure to pop up this year that will change the way digital shopping works. More and more retail executives are turning to data tracking to determine what their shoppers are looking for and help bring it to them as seamlessly as possible. And when retailers are working to improve the customer experience, no matter the trend, everyone wins.

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