Part Human, Part Digital: The Future of Retail

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Understanding the future of retail is key for all brands, large and small. A greater push towards technology—online shopping, social media—seems inevitable. However, true human connection should not be lost in the process. It ought to be enhanced.

As the retailing industry strays further and further from its traditional model, consumers will begin requesting an integration of more tech-based intelligence to stimulate personalization through integration and digitalization. Tom Savigar, Chief Growth Officer and Senior Partner of The Future Laboratory, has recently published a report with QVC, an American television network, that predicts and analyzes the future of the retail industry at large. Natalie Theodosi of Women’s Wear Daily said in an article about Savigar’s report that “the next quarter century [involves] AI, which will facilitate routine purchases, and the continued importance of human interaction in physical spaces.”

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Even though the modern era includes an increase in technology, the majority of consumers still want that authentic human interaction, simply because it evokes raw emotion and allows people to talk to each other. But incorporating digitalization is another new necessity for the modern consumer because it often leads to an increase in convenience, which continuously excites the consumer and prevents frustration.

To keep people on their toes, the industry will also increase physical, in-store technology in a more liberating way. According to Theodosi, “Virtual retail will also take a prominent role [and] increase the delight and convenience of shopping.” This type of shopping is inevitable because it brings in convenience and efficiency while keeping space open for that genuine connection between people.

The world is ever-changing, and so is the retail industry. Consumers are looking for convenience, and retailers are looking to meet their customers’ needs and wants. Before we know it, virtual reality will evolve into the norm, and digitalization will continue improving convenience. But even though technology is evolving, the modern consumer still internally craves genuine human interaction. Looking into the future, the retail industry should find a natural balance between the digital world and the human world, one transaction at a time.