The future shopping experience will be more about experience than product. Brands must balance being technology-driven and personalized, but physical stores will still exist as showrooms to provide immersive experiences.
What will the shopping experience look like in the next 10-15 years? It’s a crucial question for brands to consider as they shape forward-focused customer experience strategies.
Think of how far we’ve come in the last 15 years. Instead of shopping primarily in person at malls like we used to, today’s shoppers can buy things from nearly any device or app and have them delivered nearly instantly.
The future will take those advancements and catapult them even further to create a shopping experience that unites the best of both worlds: convenience and personalization.
Experience – Not Products – Will Be The Deciding Factor
The shopping experience of the future is much more about the experience than the products. Customers will care less about physical products and more about the experience brands provide. If a brand can’t deliver a convenient or memorable experience, customers will go elsewhere. That means the companies that lead the competition won’t necessarily have the best or least expensive products—they’ll have the best experiences.
The shopping experience of the future will be personalized and technology-driven. Customers will be able to see items instantly, try them on and test them virtually, and have them customized to their exact preferences. The shopping experience will seamlessly move between the physical and digital worlds to give customers exactly what they want when they want it.
We’re already seeing that with the growth of phygital experiences that blur the lines between online and in-person shopping. Many retailers are leveraging AR and VR to create immersive experiences.
Beauty store Lush operates packaging-free “Naked Stores” where customers scan bath bombs and items with the Lush Lens app to see the ingredients, directions, and story behind the product. Nike creates an immersive experience at select stores as customers create custom shoes that are tailored virtually right in front of them using augmented reality.
And as incredible as these experiences are, they’re just scratching the surface of what we’ll see in the future.
Brands Must Find The Balance Between Technology And Human Service
Technology will be everywhere and make it possible for companies to automate the mundane parts of customer experience while also increasing and scaling their personalization efforts. It will be a fine balance between the two sides: customers want technology to make the experience smoother and more convenient, but they also want personalization. Companies will have to find the balance between automating and innovating with technology like AI, VR and connected IoT devices while also adding a human touch.
What does all this technology mean for physical stores of the future?
Brick and mortar won’t go away, but it will evolve to meet changing customer demands. Stores will become experimental showrooms where customers can connect with brands in new ways. It will be less about making a purchase and more about experiencing the brand—touching products, seeing how they work, and then having them personalized and delivered quickly to their homes.
The shopping experience of the future will be just that: an experience.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the author of The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly email here.