One way to make sure that happens in the future is to continue focusing on the area of convenience.
We’ve heard a ton of speculation about what the future of retail may look like, but all of those theories boil down to the same ultimate goal - and it’s the same goal that retailers of yesterday and today have held onto. It’s all about getting customers in the door, as changes don’t mean a thing if they don’t resonate with consumers. As Engadget explains, one way to make sure that happens in the future is to continue focusing on the area of convenience, and the checkout process is a great place to start.
As online shopping continues to grow, the main tenet that keeps customers coming back is the ease with which business is transacted. On the best retail platforms out there, it’s as simple as pointing and clicking, and before you know it your items are en route in two days or less. That’s pretty tough for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with, but customers still like to go out and visit the stores that suit their needs. Why not make it easier for them to transact business and keep them coming back in the process? Some industry experts have shared some ideas on how to make that happen.
"From the window of the storefront all the way to the fitting room environment... any surface could be a purchase interaction or counter," according to Stephane Wyper, senior vice president of new commerce and partnerships at Mastercard.
Long checkout lines would quickly become a thing of the past, but there’s some other added benefits as well. An automation of the checkout process can lead to an increase in data about consumers, and that opens up all kinds of marketing possibilities.
"Retailers have to figure out how to use [the data] and also ensure the consumer has control over the types of experiences and benefits they want in return for sharing their information," said Healey Cypher, CEO of retail innovation company Oak Labs. "Time is increasingly the currency we value. The extent to which you can save me time on the repetitive stuff is going to be a hugely important benefit."
Cypher makes an excellent point, as collecting data does not equal a green light to become intrusive in consumers lives. Nonetheless, the future of retail points to some exciting possibilities, and innovative retailers will continue to find ways to resonate with today’s consumers.
"While technology will enable less friction, there are still core human truths that remain relevant: People place a high value on experiences, they seek social connection and want to avoid the routine and mundane," notes Brian Kavanagh, senior director of retail insights at The Hershey Company.