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Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

Sourcing Journal – The retail storefront isn’t dead, even as large shopping centers and chain stores shut down locations nationwide. Most retail purchases, a figure around 90 percent, are still made in stores. For retailers, that means turning attention and resources toward the in-store shopping experience, even as chatbots and other tech tools redefine e-commerce channels.

BRP Consulting’s latest special report, The Future Store, illustrates how next-generation tools like video chat and AI will factor into shoppers’ purchasing processes. The report draws from two different studies, a 2019 consumer study as well as a POS/customer engagement survey targeting retailers, to envision what’s to come for retail and illuminate how brands approach supply chain management, including staffing and inventory decisions that can facilitate a seamless omnichannel experience.

The findings show consumers are willing to rely on technology in place of human interaction—but only if it makes the purchase process quicker and easier. Fifty-five percent are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout instead of a store without, and 57 percent will choose a store offering automated returns if it allows them to avoid human interactions and speed up the process.

Read Full Article:Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

The Rise of the Internet of Things in Retail

CSP Daily News – In today’s retail ecosystem, many shoppers are looking for an experience that satisfies both real-world and digital needs.

Retail management consulting firm BRP recently released The Future Store, a report that found that 19% of retailers currently offer internet of things capabilities and another 36% plan to within three years. Internet of things describes an environment in which the internet is connected to physical objects embedded with sensors that can then communicate. 

Internet of things is focused not only on gathering data but also on the analysis and usage of the data. It could change the way people shop while both browsing shelves and at the point-of-sale.

“While e-commerce and mobile continue to grow and garner attention, the store remains a key component of the brand experience and the central point of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, nearly half of retailers plan to increase their number of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Ken Morris, principal with BRP, retail consulting firm. “However, the role of the store continues to change. The advent of the digital world offers consumers new ways and ‘places’ to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, have modified consumer expectations and behaviors, and retailers must transform to succeed.”

Read Full Article: The Rise of the Internet of Things in Retail

What technologies draw customers to stores?

Chain Store Age – Retailers looking to create the “Store of the Future” should include a few key technology offerings. That’s according to a new study from BRP, retail consulting firm, in which 55% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout and 57% will choose a store offering automated returns to avoid human interactions and speed the process.

The study, “Special Report: The Future Store,” also revealed that 32% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality (AR) experience and 29% would like a virtual reality (VR) experience as part of their shopping environment. However, only 9% offer AR to their brick-and-mortar customers and another 29% plan to within three years. Even fewer (7%) currently offer VR capabilities to in-store customers and 23% plan to within three years.

“While e-commerce and mobile continue to grow and garner attention, the store remains a key component of the brand experience and the central point of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, nearly half of retailers plan to increase their number of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “However, the role of the store continues to change. The advent of the digital world offers consumers new ways and ‘places’ to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, have modified consumer expectations and behaviors, and retailers must transform to succeed.”

Read Full Article: What technologies draw customers to stores?

The Future Store is Here

The retail industry is in the midst of a retail renaissance as we move from the ‘olden days’ of a person walking in to a store to simply purchase a commodity, into a new technologically advanced era where artificial intelligence helps customers make informed purchasing decisions leveraging associate or customer facing technology along with augmented reality that enables them to view products on their body or virtually in their homes. Technology is bringing new life to brick-and-mortar stores as the physical and digital worlds collide.

The store is not dead, it’s digitized…

Over the past twenty years, many in the retail industry have predicted the demise of the physical store. That seemed like a reasonable assumption given the accelerated growth of e-commerce and advancements in mobile technology; however, the reality is, the store is still the foundation of retailing. It is where the tactile and sensory experience comes together for the consumer, but the traditional store concept is changing.

Disruption and adaptation are changing the retail model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. Online pure-plays are opening brick-and-mortar stores and traditional retailers are experimenting with new store models and in some cases, expanded experiential brand strategies that include new revenue sources, such as services or food and beverage options. Retail is theater and with technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), the retail store is no longer the only stage where the theater of retail can take place. New technology will further empower customers as they can dictate their own personal stage and experience.

The physical store remains the foundation of retail; however, a significant and fundamental transformation of retail is underway and will change the requirements for the store of the future.

We recently conducted our 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey and compared our findings on retailer capabilities with consumer expectations from the BRP Consumer Study (report coming soon!) to take a closer look at what the store of the future looks like. BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Store gives you a closer look at what consumers expect from the store.

Download the report now because the future store is here, ready or not.

 

Study: The store of the future is digitized, and now it needs a network

Chain Store Age – As retailers infuse more digital features into the store experience, they need robust networks to support their digital offerings.

A majority (79%) of consumers prefer to shop in stores, however mobility is playing a stronger role in these visits. In fact, 29% of consumer plan to increase their mobile shopping experiences in the next 24 months, according to “The Future Retail Network Manifesto,” a study from Boston Retail Partners.

According to data, 41% of shoppers utilize their mobile device in the store to look up product information, and 39% use their smartphone to compare prices and availability with the competition.

As consumers rely on mobile devices to research, communicate and purchase in a non-linear shopping journey, retailers are being forced rethink the networks they use to support the evolving store experience. As retailers make a move toward the store of the future, they need to embrace new network imperatives: simple, fast, agile, reliable, and secure.

“We are in the midst of a retail renaissance, as the way customers shop has transformed the traditional store model,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners (BRP). “To meet consumers’ demand for the future store requires the adoption of real-time, cloud-based technologies enabled by a powerful network,” he said. “Now is the time to transform the network to support the store of the future.”

Read Full Article: Study: The store of the future is digitized, and now it needs a network