In their fourth annual report, the Walker Sands retail practice team tapped the insights of more than 1,600 U.S. consumers, uncovering how technology is changing consumer behaviors – and how consumer behaviors are transforming the customer experience for retail brands in 2017.
The study reveals that the connected consumer and voice controlled devices are the future of retail in 2017 and as retailers struggle to stay ahead of consumer desires, their biggest challenge will be evolving at scale as technology continues to disrupt the industry.
The consumer is changing again, and the future of retail is now about much more than just online shopping. Technology like connected home devices, virtual reality, streaming television services, voice ordering and drones have made digital shopping easier and more integrated into everyday life.
So where is commerce headed in the age of the connected consumer? What do brands, retailers and manufacturers need to know about their shifting audiences?
Predictions For The Future Of Retail
The shift to the connected consumer shows no signs of slowing down, and buying habits are transforming. Retail isn’t just about when customers are ready to buy anymore– it’s a constant engagement with technology and experiences that drives the future of commerce. Based on the 2017 Walker Sands Future of Retail 2017 findings, we predict these three trends will shape the future of retail in the years ahead.
- As consumers become even more connected, they will demand a more transparent and continuous commerce experience from retailers. The walls between channels will continue to fall as connectively becomes ubiquitous, and consumers fluidly move from one medium to another.
- Voice ordering will drive a new era of commerce, and brands will have to learn how to navigate a landscape that doesn’t have a traditional user interface. “Zero UI” will transform the customer experience and further heighten customer expectations.
- The in-store experience won’t go away, but it will shift as retailers blur the lines between physical and digital stores. The two worlds will be linked by authentic brand experiences that allow customers to move seamlessly between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shopping.
While the future of retail was once all about the e-commerce experience, online shopping has become so commonplace that it’s now an assumed retailer capability. The future is now being shaped by the connected consumer and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of technology. In this always-on environment, brands must themselves be always on – not just online, but everywhere their customers go.
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While the study revealed several interesting stats around smartphone penetration, free shipping and voice commerce, those around the importance of product content appealed most to me.
|Future of Retail Statistics||Implications|
|35% of consumers would be more likely to use a mobile app if it had more in-depth product information.||Merchants who are unable to provide complete and consistent product information are losing consumers, as they also recognize disparities across platforms. This leads to a lack of trust.|
|46% of consumers prefer to shop online, instead of in-store, including mobile and voice commerce.||Today, retailers can sell their products on so many different channels. Because of this, it’s crucial that product content comes from one consistent and accurate location.|
To take a deep dive into the world of today’s consumer and the changing shape of the commerce landscape, download Walker Sands’ 2017 Future of Retail study today!