BOSTON — The most successful retailers will seamlessly blend the physical with the digital in the “future store,” according to a new report from retail consulting firm Boston Retail Partners.
“Stores must now encompass both worlds — the sensory experience of the physical store combined with the personalization and convenience of online shopping,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners. “Retailers can no longer afford to operate from within silos and must transform their technology, business processes and organization to align with their customers’ expectations.”
The retail industry is now in an era of significant, fundamental transformation within the store environment. In its recently released The Future Store Manifesto report, Boston Retail Partners articulates its vision of the future store while identifying the challenges and imperatives retailers face in delivering on consumer expectations.
“The technology in stores today is outdated and broken. It can’t support the real-time connection between the consumer, the associate, inventory and pricing [that’s] essential to the omnichannel experience. It’s time for change,” added Eric Olafson, senior vice president of store solutions for Demandware, which sponsored The Future Store Manifesto research.
Online shoppers are accustomed to features such as product reviews, extensive assortments, one-click transaction processing, and personalized recommendations. These expectations don’t dissipate when they walk into a physical store.
Therefore, retailers must infuse digital features into the store environment to exceed customer expectations, compete more effectively with online pure-play retailers, and offer a better, more complete shopping experience.
Attaining the store of the future is a challenge, though, as many retailers are saddled with legacy systems, inconsistent customer data, and are generally not organized in a way that supports this transformation. Retailers must thus shift their focus from channel integration to a holistic customer experience in order to evolve both multichannel and omnichannel retailing for a seamless shopping experience in the store, on the web and on mobile devices.
Download the full Boston Retail Partners report by clicking here.