7 trends shaping the future of retail stores

Many innovative brands today can give us insights into what tomorrow’s brick and mortar stores will look like.

This will involve a lot more tech and offer a range of new instore experiences for shoppers. As retailers continue to seek innovative ways to drive revenue, while improving the in-store customer experience (CX) the seven following trends can be expected to grow. 

 1. Less human contact

The future will see an increase in what is known as “Just Walk Out” tech, enabling customers to walk into a store, pick up what they need and walk out without having to stand in line at the checkout. This will all be made possible thanks to computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion - software that combines data from different sensors.  

2. Merchantainment

mix of entertainment content and product information, known as “merchantainment”, is on the rise in the retail sector. These fun instore experiences involve touchscreens, kiosks and other devices, enabling shoppers to customise items or try out new cosmetics without having to physically put on any makeup.   

3. Hyper-personalisation

Geo-conquesting, location-based ads directing shoppers to a brand and geo- fencing, virtual barriers blocking off a specific location, will be popular in the future. This, together with instore beacons, that act as wireless transmitters, will enable brands of the future to easily send customers highly personalised information in real time based on their interests, interactions and location.  

4. Convenience 

Certain stores of the future will also look like ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) enabling consumers to shop for products at any time of the day or night. People in the future will also have more control over how and when they interact with brands. 

5. Smart shelves

In the not so distant future many brick and mortar stores will be able to use sensors, built into or underneath shelves, to send notifications when stocks run low. This move towards wireless inventory management will also enable shoppers to pick up articles from smart shelves and scan them to learn more about the product or benefit from special promotions. 

6. Li-Fi tech

Light bulbs will be used as smart devices by retailers in the future. LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs, offering stores with a broadband Internet connection via light waves, otherwise known as Light Fidelity or Li-Fi will be used for this purpose. 

7. A different role for Sales Associates

We can therefore expect to see a massive increase in the use of digital solutions in physical stores in the future. However, this does not mean that Sales staff will disappear.  On the contrary, their role will be more important than ever, giving them the opportunity to create highly personalised relationships with customers and offer consultative advice.