Will the Smartphone Kill Bricks and Mortar Retailing?

John Ibbotson, Retail Vision

Who Needs a Store?

It’s on your Smartphone. We can buy everything we want, anywhere we want, 24hrs a day from a Smartphone and have it delivered next day.

94% of US Centennials (age 13-18) prefer to research and browse products on the Smartphone, and only 46% prefer to buy in-store.

Most of their customer journey starts on the phone and less than half of it finishes in-store.We only need a shop for the things the smartphone can’t do.

The Smartphone can’t give you:

  1.  The physical brand experience, look and feel.
  2. Personal human advice on complicated products.
  3. Social and emotional interaction with other human beings.
  4. Immediate purchase of products the store has in stock.
  5. Click and collect.

Today we need a store for this but in the future, we won’t.

Coming Soon (in 2 years) Through Your Smartphone.

The retailers’ systems for Loyalty, Point of Sale, Promotions and Self-scanning will be available on the smartphone switched on by geolocation as you pass the retailer.

The description, price and a special promotion for you will be on your phone as you pass the product.

Big Data and predictive analysis will help retailers to target better prices ranges and availability both instore and to specific demographics on the smartphone.

The development of voice user interfaces (VUI), artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) will give you the store experience through your Smartphone and Headset with Virtual Assistants who can think and talk to you like a human.

Virtual Reality will give you the full store experience in the comfort of your home

Robots will deliver to you wherever you are within the hour and you won’t need click and collect.

How Will Stores Survive?

56% of US in-store sales involved a digital device.

The customer journey may start on the smartphone but over half of them finish in store on the same device.

The way forward is to combine both the physical and digital experience as consumers access the physical experience through the mobile phone.

Successful retailers will use the Smartphone to start the customer journey with information and finish it with a digital transaction whilst leading the customer into the store for a more emotional entertaining and branded experience.

The most successful retailers will constantly develop both the brand and the retail proposition digitally and physically to support each other.

Source: Linkedin Article

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