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What’s After Anytime, Anywhere? The Future of Retail Technology


By Lea Elaine Green, Senior Content Strategist, Mozu

We are on the cusp of a new generation of interactive retail technologies, and it is born from the response of consumers demanding new experiences as they interact with their personal mobile devices. Innovative retailers are already integrating various innovative technologies and systems in order to achieve a unified customer experience and adapt to consumers’ reinvention of retail response. Anytime, anywhere availability is no longer enough. The future of retail is about providing choice, consistency and customization to consumers, and increasing the level of interaction to lift anytime, anywhere transactions to a level of personal interaction, relevance and meaning.

The desire to shop anytime, anywhere impacts technology adoption and behaviors in both retail and word-of-mouth marketing environments, and also compels merchants to reinvent physical storefronts. Below are just a few of the ways innovative companies will merge technology with consumer desires to bring new experiences to customers in the near future:

Beacons bring the personal touch

Low energy Bluetooth transmitters, often known as iBeacon, and other micromarketing technology will pinpoint consumers within inches inside store environments. Companies will use more mobile in-app tools that reflect user environment. These apps will increase consumer engagement drastically, targeting and rewarding key behaviors with relevant content and promotions. Consumers increasingly expect technology to enhance personalization from favorite brands, with 59% noting an impact on buying behavior and 31% wanting more personalized retail. Targeting their most relevant choices will incent customers to return to stores for a new experience of personalization. This technology will also enable retailers to gather vast amounts of data once consumers are in store, including how long they spend in certain departments and audit customer pathing, allowing merchants to determine POS and the impact of specific offers, not to mention gaining access to in-depth customer demographics and psychographics.

Stores evolve into experiential showplaces

Every flat surface will be an opportunity to interact. Fitting rooms will connect to social media so customers can engage and share, and energy-efficient, virtual 3D display billboards will soon cover every imaginable surface. Workforce management will further empower store associates with liberated handheld devices to serve and inform customers with detailed purchasing preferences. Physical stores will no longer stock inventory but evolve into showplaces — product-focused, brand-focused amusement parks for consumers to experience products: real, virtual and prototypes. The store as a showroom will enable physical environments to remain differentiated while staying competitive with online commerce.

The new reality is virtual reality

Another potential for the future of retail includes online HD panoramic imaging that bring 3D store and product experiences directly to consumers’ personal devices. According to Nicolas Rossi of London-based start-up Avenue Imperial, “our website makes the online shopping experience more immersive than the flat, catalog-style e-commerce we have all got used to.” With virtual reality tools, users can experience store environments and products using smartphones, tablets or laptops, zooming in to see minute product detail, virtually interacting with products or instantly connecting with staff that can provide additional information or arrange for payment and shipping.

The convergence of content and commerce

Like two sides of a coin, content and commerce have the potential to work together and drive Connected Consumers to the sale. In their unending quest to be where the buyers are, social media channels already create opportunities for social commerce by “reducing friction” for merchants. Detailed user demographics about consumers can be used to serve retail advertisers to target prospects directly in-stream, and consumer response further hones the experience of relevant, action-oriented retail content. Creating and sharing relevant, valuable information creates trust, builds brands, and converts prospects into customers. Until recently, content and commerce existed in separate worlds — with separate teams and tools — and created unreliable customer experiences and frustrated business users. But the rapid adoption of personal mobile technology and the rise of the Connected Consumer have changed the rules forever.

The future of retail is at our fingertips and only limited by our imagination — learn more about Limitless Commerce and the many opportunities available to retailers by downloading the latest eBook from Mozu.

About Mozu

Brought to you by Volusion, Inc., Mozu is the commerce platform for today’s omni-channel marketplace. With Mozu, retailers can manage their commerce, content and customer experience across every channel, on any platform, around the world. Designed with an API-first architecture and built to meet the demands of the modern consumer, Mozu provides truly limitless commerce to an ever-changing business landscape. To learn more, visit and @MozuCommerce.

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