The shopping experience is very different today for customers than it was 10 years ago. Self-service checkouts line stores, you can order shopping without having to leave the house and for some consumers, making digital shopping lists is the norm. Thanks to advances in technology, customers have become accustomed to receiving a streamlined and intuitive user experience with instant gratification. And is this any surprise given that some online retailers are now offering services such as same day delivery to shoppers?
Demand for automated services is no doubt on the rise. Amazon recently opened a string of Amazon Go stores in the US and the partly-automated stores have been dubbed as the ‘world’s most advanced’ shopping experience. The stores allow customers to purchase products without them being checked out by a cashier or using a self-checkout station. Shoppers simply add their payment details into an app and they are automatically charged for the products they take upon leaving the store. In order to do this, artificial intelligence-powered camera networks and sensors have been developed for shop shelves to monitor what customers are putting in their baskets to instantly add it to their bill. Sure, it avoids standing in pesky queues at the store. But does the future of retail really require artificial power?
Time will tell if other stores will adopt a technological-based shopping experience, but the demand does seem to be out there. Brands everywhere are making a conscious effort to digitise and appeal to a social media-savvy culture and this could be the next step. It’s food for thought for entrepreneurs and SMEs who are just starting out and looking at their own strategy. How high a priority is convenience and self-service for your customers? Shopping without cashiers may not be accessible for everyone and it’s important not to underestimate the power of human interaction.
So what do changing consumer behaviours and expectations mean for the future of retail? How will the balance be struck between offering speed and convenience without compromising on that humanistic 'service’ element that has for so long been such a key part of the shopping experience for consumers? For those starting out in the industry, it’s important to be in tune with cultural changes in order to meet consumer needs. If you’d like to review your strategy in order to stay ahead of the game, get in touch with the team at Only Marketing today.