UX: What’s In Store For Next-Gen Retail

TWICE – With all the focus on e-commerce and websites, it’s easy to forget that online sales still only accounted for about 10 percent of all retail transactions last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Meaning that 90 percent of sales took place in stores.

While no one’s suggesting that retailers let up on the digital gas pedal — in fact, just the opposite — neither should multichannel merchants neglect what remains their core asset: brick-and-mortar showrooms.

“The reality is, the store is still the foundation of retailing,” observed BRP, a retail consulting firm, in its 2019 Special Report: The Future Store. “It is where the tactile and sensory experience comes together for the consumer.”

But in the age of AR, AI, IoT and all other techno abbreviations, the online and offline worlds are beginning to merge, as digital disciplines filter into physical showrooms and shoppers, particularly of the Z Generation, come to expect it. “The store is not dead,” BRP declared. “It’s digitized.”

Some of those experiential ways include AR, VR and videoconferencing. According to BRP’s Future Store report, 36 percent of consumers said they would shop at a store offering virtual mirrors to envision themselves in different eyewear, garments or cosmetics, while 32 percent of respondents said they are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality experience. The research also showed that 29 percent would patronize a retailer with an element of virtual reality in their stores, and 27 percent would frequent a showroom that offered video conferencing from home with an in-store sales associate.

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