Will 2015 Be the Year the ‘Store of the Future’ Takes Off?
Retailers have been experimenting with digital in-store technologies for a while, but 2015 is poised to be the year when the "Store of the Future" becomes a reality.
Consumers, specifically mobile-savvy millennials, expect high-quality and seamless digital experiences both online and in-store. These digital natives have little tolerance for shopping experiences that are disjointed or segregated by channel, and they don't care about channels or corporate departments. They want a seamless experience with your brand across all touchpoints wherever they happen to be.
Unfortunately, few consumers actually have this type of shopping experience. Most are bombarded with websites that don't work on mobile or emails that promote a cool product but require an in-store visit to buy it. Even worse is an email promotion that redirects to another website entirely with a completely different set of products.
Then there's the nearly total disconnect between online and offline shopping. Despite an abundance of information about individual customers online, the minute shoppers walk into a brick-and-mortar store, they become total strangers.
The store of the future concept promises to do away with problems like these, and if predictions are true, 2015 will be the year retailers start to see it come to fruition.
According to a new Forrester Research report, Predictions 2015: The Digital Store Platform Will Support The Retail Store Of The Future, retailers will lay the foundation for the store of the future in 2015, beginning with a focus on integrating enterprise systems. Retailers must tackle back-end systems first so they can enable stores to operate across channels in real time in order to deliver seamless, consistent experiences everywhere.
Implementing the store of the future also involves a shift in thinking among retail executives. Historically, the dominant approach to digital transformation has been for companies to create an "online" or "digital" team separate from stores, branches, marketing or operations. Oftentimes, these silos extend to the executive C-level. CIOs have always managed the technology, while CMOs were in charge of branding and marketing.