It is of course impossible to predict the future, especially at rate things seem to be changing these days, but here a few trends that we might be see a bit more of on the High Street in 2019.Digital X Physical Shopping
Yes retailers have long been at the forefront of technological advances, from stock control to logistics to robots in warehouse, but the old model of internet delivery vai massive warehouse seems to be changing, at least in large cities. Retails giants like Amazon are looking to gain more ground in physical stores, and are using all of the technology at their disposal to lure us in.
From full payment automation (no checkouts), to display cabinets that can tell when we’ve picked up and replaced an item or added it to our basket, and even facial recognition systems that will note our interest in certain products and instantly recommend items to us based on our immediate and historical shopping habits (online and offline). New advances in machine learning and AI mean that the store of the future is already here, and expanding.Virtual Clothes Shopping
Technologies like AR are bringing a whole new level of experience to fashion retail, with high city centre rents meaning that prime retail space is at a premium, and stores no longer wanting to carry large physical stocks of every size and colour that may not sell, even traditional shops are now working in collaboration with digital agencies to offer customers an experience-led outing. Virtual changing rooms and mirrors can enable customers to try on any colour and any size, with a wider variety available to choose from then would be possible to economically keep in store. Once selected, clothes can be paid for and delivered to home, meaning no heavy nags or parcels to carry home and allowing shoppers to stay at the premises for the rest of the evening to spend more money on dining or other leisure activities.Experiences
The new breed of shopper isn’t heading out with a shopping list in 2019, because if they want something specific they will have already ordered it online in a variety of colours and sizes, taking full advantage of the retailer’s next day delivery and free returns policy.
This shopper is heading out for the experience, and that means they’re expecting a lot more that just a few stores with a limited selection of goods when they get there. Retail stores have always enhanced transactions with experiences, from cafes and restaurants in shopping malls, to amusements for toddlers outside supermarkets, to the offer of a makeover at the cosmetics counter at the department store. With the domination of internet retail, physical stores need more than ever to offer a new proposition to savvy shoppers, and if it can be photographed and shared on social media then so much the better. This means that the retail space is now at the cutting edge of digital experiences, from interactive lighting displays to Instagram-worthy window displays, adverts in virtual reality and pop-up branded promotional stores.
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