The physical retail boom is far from over – but it is definitely changing. According to Forrester Research, by 2018, e-commerce will represent 11% of the market – meaning that a hefty 89% of commerce will still happen offline, at the physical point of sale.
The recent spate of online retailers opening physical stores such as Warby Parker, M.Gemi, Herman Miller and most importantly Amazon indicate that brick-and-mortar retail still play a critical role in a shopper’s consumer journey. This journey follows a common pattern which starts with the initial discovery experience and then ultimately leads to the final purchase. As discovery in today’s digital age becomes more complex with consumers browsing and selecting via virtual channels both in app and online, retailers are looking for an intuitive way to make discovery easier and interesting for their customers. These companies complemented online “discovery” with an in-store experience adding convenience, advice and service to the consumer journey. But there is more to come. In-store discovery will undergo major transformation with the advent of Internet-of Things devices such as sensors, beacons, digital signs, tablet-based point of sales and RFID tags.
“Consumer expectation is accelerating at an incredible pace. It is our job in retail is to exceed those expectations,” said Healey Cypher, CEO Oak Labs. “At OAK, we believe in a beautiful future of shopping where technology seamlessly blends into authentic material, where moments of inspiration are instantly shop-able, and where stores become living and breathing, software-defined experiences.”
At Mastercard, we see connected life as the way to apply our deep expertise in bringing the digital and physical aspects of retail together. In September, we will be launching our IoT services for retailers in the U.S. by partnering with companies that can unify the shopping experience across multiple devices and technology. And we are partnering with the most innovative companies in the industry to deliver this future:
- We are partnering with Intel to discover a simple way to browse and buy in a self-service environment.
- We are engaged with Oak Labs to transform any in-store surface into a point of engagement, customer service and sales – from the fitting room mirror all the way to the storefront window.
“We want to make shopping more delightful and efficient by moving the transaction to wherever the consumer decision to buy takes place, while integrating discovery technologies to making shopping more personal and rewarding,” said Joe Jensen, VP, Intel Internet of Things Group, GM, Retail Solutions Division. “By working with Mastercard we’re accelerating transaction capabilities across connected devices regardless of where a shopper is, while connecting them to new ideas and product recommendations.”
Together with our partners, we will create an integrated consumer experience that bridges and seamlessly moves between the physical and digital worlds of a retailer. The experience will meet the challenge of fitting for that individual in that moment –whether it’s an immersive, enriching encounter or a streamlined automated purchase.