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Retail's future lies with customisation and connectivity

24 February 2012 - 13:53 by Mike Price

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A new study, published by IGD, suggests that the criteria on which consumers judge their shopping experiences will change over the coming years, with a shift towards personalisation and cross-platform connectivity.

Gadgets which enable the combination of safe shopping online and high street retail, such as smartphones and tablets, will drive this change, enabling retailers to craft a custom experience which is different for each and every consumer.

People are beginning to expect that the deals and offers they receive are deliberately aimed at their tastes and habits, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach which has been used in the past, before technology began to play such a big part in the retail sector.

The report also found that people will turn to social networking sites and customer reviews in greater numbers than ever before, prior to purchasing anything via safe shopping online or in store.

Retailers are likely to take the benefits associated with smartphone use and turn them into 'intelligent trolleys,' which are able to further respond to the needs of each consumer and will translate well into the bricks and mortar environment, while retaining the convenience of m-commerce.

Interestingly, there is also predicted to be a rise in the expectations relating to supply chain transparency. Consumers will want to know where a product has come from and how environmentally friendly it is, which could easily be enabled thanks to smartphone scanning, rather than excessive increases in the printed information on the item itself.

It is unsurprising that the report predicts an amalgamation of e-commerce tools and services with the in-store experience we are used to receiving on the high street. Since many retailers operate both online and off, it pays for them to link the two potentially disparate platforms in the future.