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The contemporary technologies evolve at an extremely fast pace. The modern consumers have more devices and digital technologies at their service than at any other time in human history. Today, the technologies have grown to penetrate every sphere of our life. Retail, marketing, and shopping have not become an exception. Some of the modern shopping practices are very different from those popular just several decades ago (credit cards, QR codes, online shopping). However, shopping at brick-and-mortar stores is still very similar to that of the past. In this paper, I theorize about the likely retail trends and in-store experiences that might be popular in 2025. The discussion involves handheld devices as humanized digital assistants and interactive in-shop experiences.
Clients of the Future and Their Needs
As the Millennial generation is now recognized as one of the largest and includes people born between 1981 and 2000, this generation represents the future consumer base for all spheres of retails and services. This tendency means that the buyers of the future are going to be tech-savvy with heavy reliance on the latest technologies as their ever-present helpers. Moreover, the modern consumers have time as one of their most appreciated values. That way, the future customers would want their shopping experiences to be maximally efficient and active.
Handheld Devices as Humanized Digital Assistants
Mobile devices and tablets will play a key role in helping massive information sharing over the Internet seamlessly interwoven into daily life. These handheld devices will become even smarter, quicker and collectively provide information tailored to users’ lifestyles and preferences. As a result, these changes will eventually turn our phones and tablets into digital assistants that have emotions and feelings. They will not only be able to analyze data, track behaviors, and give quick feedback to the users but also serve as more humanized digital assistants that communicate and connect with the users on a more intimate level.
This will be executed through a computer program like Apple’s Siri or Google’s Google Now but in a more advanced and complicated form. Users will be able to start an uninterrupted, personal conversation in a way just like talking to their friends and family face to face, but with their devices. This type of humanized digital assistant will take on any possible topics and give back answers that are helpful and precise. The stores will have ports where the handheld devices will be able to connect to their database so the humanized assistants could be able to answer questions about each store in particular (for example, whether or not it has certain products, and what the prices are).
This option would encourage the marketers to provide more information about their goods so the buyers could learn more about them (for instance, their ingredients, where they come from, how organic they are). The devices could have the option to memorize various wish lists to scan the store databases for these goods and inform the buyer about their presence. Besides, they will have the option of expenditures monitoring. A user would need to insert the approved amount of money for each day, and the device would notify them when the limit is approached. The same can be done to bank accounts; the devices would be able to track them and inform the users when the costs on their accounts are running out.
Automatic Authorization of Goods
All the products would have stickers with all the necessary information about them for both the shoppers and the retailers. These stickers would be provided by the manufacturers at the stage of packing goods. As a result, when the goods are delivered to the stores by trucks, the vehicles would have to pass through special scanning frame that will capture the information on all the stickers inside of the truck and instantly identify them and add to the store’s database so they can be delivered or put on the shelves right away without the lengthy registration. This technology will benefit the buyers as well since they would not need to wait in lines for the cashiers to scan each product’s code. Instead, they would have to move the cart through the scanning frame and within seconds all the items inside would be registered, so the buyer would only have to pay for them.
As a vital part of retail, advertisement is going to make its way to the future but alter its form to attract more tech-savvy consumers. First of all, the advertising screens placed inside and outside of stores are going to become interactive. That way, whenever a client sees something they are interested in, they will have the ability to pause an advertisement, re-start it, or skip through various products and search for a particular one. Besides, since communication is one of the most important aspects of the future society, the advertisement screens are going to have a “send” button.
With the help of this option, the clients would be able to share advertisements with their friends and family members. Besides, the interactive shopping screens in the stores and supermarkets are going to add interactive commercials to the buyers generating them based on the goods each particular customer is viewing. Product testing is going to be another important aspect of the future advertising. As it would include many aspects of online shopping, the users would need to connect with the goods. Testing can be altered based on the types of goods sold in every store. For example, perfume stores would have machines not only equipped with interactive shopping screens but able to give away the samples of selected perfume.
The same can be done with fabrics, makeup, or some kinds of food. To attract the customers of the future the appearance of the stores is to change. Targeting tech-savvy Millennials, the stores would have to advertise themselves fighting for the buyers. That way, the standard looking supermarkets are not likely to be popular in the future. I, personally, imagine the stores of 2025 similar to the contemporary Apple stores with a lot of soft light, minimalistic design, and a highly technical approach to everything. In other words, the outside and inside space of the stores (doors, walls, shelves, ceiling, and stairs) would be designed to contribute to the experience desired by the clients.
To sum up, the stores of the future are going to have convenience, speedy service of high-quality, and technologies as their main orientation as these are the values of the future buyers. The experience of shopping in a retail store of the future would be a combination of online shopping and visiting brick-and-mortar stores merging the advantages of both and eliminating the inconveniences. The buyers would be assisted by the humanized devices raising their shopping experiences to the next level and taking over such activities as searching for specific goods, processing their details, selecting the best ones, and monitoring the expenditures.