Many believe VR, AR, and AI are the next technologies that will transform the whole retailing space over the next 3-5 years.
More retailers are expected to invest in this level of technology over the next few years meaning that the entire retailing space is likely to expand wide open. It will be interesting to see which retailers adopt early and which ones are laggards.
In a time when more and more retailers are investing in new digital signage, Beacon technology, and tablet/mobile based POS systems, will VR, AR, and AI be expected from customers using physical stores and online?
Digital experts suggest that some retailers are already considering how they can utilise virtual technology and how it will change customer interaction, decrease waiting times and improve the whole experience of purchasing in-store, making it more fun, personalised and seamless throughout.
Speaking at the Internet Retailing conference in London, Maureen McDonagh warned that “retailers should aim to ‘test and learn’ and become early adopters of new technology to avoid being left behind when the devices and software have matured and entered the mainstream”.
How important is it that retailers looking to innovate listen to Maureen and adopt artificial technology sooner rather than later?
Many in retail believe that this shift will start with the bigger names will be adopting this technology early, as they have the financial, physical and technological resources and will want to be the first to get to the next level of retailing.
Even though artificial technology is still evolving and developing for the mainstream, it is predicted that when the technology is fully developed and cost-effective for retailers, the majority will want to use the technology across their retail estate.
The drawback of this technology is that with this comes expectation. It wasn't so long ago that It was acceptable to wait 3-5 working days. Not any more. With Amazon prime and Uber, the expectation is less, people simply do not want to wait.
While some retailers feel the strain of omnichannel alignment, many have succeeded and are looking for the next technology. The future of retail is fascinating and it will be interesting to see what the next 3-5 years will look like.
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