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Inside the high-tech retail store of the future

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Retail stores are having an identity crisis. With foot traffic falling and customers flocking to online outlets like Amazon, many brick-and-mortar stores are looking for new ways to keep the physical shopping experience relevant. “Physical stores find themselves at a crossroads,” says Doug Stephens, retail industry futurist and author of The Retail Revival. “The value they used to provide, to assemble in one place a selection of products easily shopped and taken home, that value isn’t what it used to be 30 or 40 years ago.”

If storefronts want to compete with their more convenient (and usually cheaper) online alternatives, they will have to offer unique and personalized experiences worth getting off the couch for. “My expectation will be to go to the store to learn about things, to be a participant in things, to try different products, to co-create, to customize, to personalize the things I’m buying,” Stephens says. Here, a few predictions for how the retailers of tomorrow will keep us shopping. …

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THE WEEK  8/14/2015

 

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