At its roots, retail has always been a human covenant between a shopkeeper and a consumer. For much of the industry's history, the transactional interactions were highly personal. The shopkeeper welcomed the customer by their name and adapted the goods sold based on their preferences.
Present-day mobile devices connected to the Internet-of-Things (IoT) are appreciably digitally disrupting consumer commerce. By 2020, retail shopping, no longer a chore, will blur into your everyday life.
The Smart Shopping Home
In doing research for this post, I speculated that Amazon needed a partnership with a doorbell digital video monitoring. This was prior to the company announcing the acquisition of Blink. TechCrunch ruminated that it's a potential entry of Amazon in the home security market. The real value of Blink is its potential for building secure and automated in-home package deliveries.
Alexa also from Amazon is another of those foundational technologies shaping the future of retail. Voice is the next logical shopping platform. The recently released Amazon EchoShow has the potential to evolve into a major shopping platform and be a core in-home IoT integration device, replacing even your smartphone.
Apple and Google are also in the digital assistant race of adding voice IoT intelligence to your smart home. By 2022, these devices will be installed in over 70 million USA households, reaching 55% of all homes.
Every IoT device in your home is a potential shopping platform. If Nest senses poor heating and cooling why not automatically order new air filters? Your smart refrigerator tracking your usage patterns and delivering fresh supplies just in time? Twenty-one percent of all shoppers and 30% of GenZ consumers already want to shop on game consoles.
The Smart Shopping Car
Yes, the car in your garage is destined to become a shopping device. GM "is rolling out a new commerce platform for its dashboard infotainment consoles with partner Xevo Inc. The new feature, dubbed the GM Marketplace, will allow drivers to order food and drink, find gas stations and pay for fuel, make restaurant reservations, and more using a personalized smart system honed by IBM Watson's machine learning techniques and user data."
Self-driving cars can take this concept to the next level. If you not driving, why not shop from the comfort of the back seat? Visualize sharing the automobile journey with your favorite store or brand through immersive augmented and virtually shopping solutions. How can Uber / Lyft add shopping applications to your next car ride for advertising revenue?
Social Media as a Shopping Platform
Social media is paving the way to increased life immersive digital shopping. Facebook is the top choice of all shoppers with 26% saying they have used it to make a purchase. For the GenZ subset consumer set, Instagram (20%) is preferred over Facebook (16%).
Social media adds shopping to the social conversation, provides personalized friends recommendations, increases opt-in possibilities, and builds brand loyalty. Future social media shopping will include immersive digital experiences.
Your Life as a Shopping Platform
Look to China where 500 million people are already shopping on mobile phones to understand the future of retail. Digitally driven ultra-convenience, spontaneity, and social shopping trends are transforming all Chinese retail sectors including grocery.
In China, your groceries, including fresh fish can be delivered to your home in 30 minutes from below Alibaba Hema Supermarket.
In the words of a retailer from my last post, analog retail is dying. The future of retail is about digital footprints to make everything personalized.
By 2020, your home, your car, social media, everywhere your life takes you will be an opportunity to retail shop. Every screen or surface will be a canvas for commerce.
Retailers with strong customer centricity brands that create both associate and consumer brand ambassadors will thrive in the Internet-of-Things connected world.
Digital will take us back to that unique human covenant between a consumer and a shopkeeper where the retail industry started. No longer a chore, your life will be transformed into a personalized digital shopping platform.