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Retail's future plotted by project

20 March 2012 - 09:39 by Simon Crisp

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Most people like to try and predict what the future might hold, but a new initiative, known as the Retailtopia project, is attempting to look closely at what it will be like to experience shopping in years to come.

Unsurprisingly the project, which is backed in part by BT, concludes that safe shopping online will have a significant role to play, although the good news for high street retailers is that a multichannel approach will allow for a blend of new and old.

Retailtopia envisages a future in which consumers will be able to enjoy shopping without any queues or delays on delivery, with products which are orders through safe shopping online available to be received on the same day.

M-commerce platforms will also play an increasingly important role, although retailers will be able to offer a more cohesive, consistent cross-platform shopping experience, which is identical, regardless of which device you choose to use.

Spokesperson, Professor Patrick Barwise, explained that there could be issues associated with delivering innovative retail solutions in the future, unless companies are willing to make investment now for long term changes, rather than focusing purely on short term growth.

Professor Barwise believes that the UK's stance as a leader in the global e-commerce market could well shift, if it is not prepared for this brave new world of retail, as outlined by the project.

Experts recommend that retailers look at seven specific areas in which they can enhance the shopping experience to meet the emerging needs of tech-savvy consumers.

This includes things like analysing the wants and needs of modern shoppers to deliver a bespoke service, which is personalised rather than generic. It also means that retailers and distributors will need to collaborate, so that the high street is not completely decimated by the proliferation of e-commerce.