Two opposing trends are emerging in the retail sector: online shopping is on the rise, while consumers long for a physical experience and expert advice. Which shall prevail? Rami Jaulus, NGG CEO, tries to put things into perspective
Two opposing trends are emerging in the retail sector: on one hand, online shopping is more popular than ever. On the other hand, as technology evolves, so does consumers’ desire for physical experiences and expert device.
The internet allows us to find and compare information and offers and shop conveniently without leaving our homes. But with all its advantages, the online experience leaves something wanting in terms of our basic need to experience the world physically: to see, touch, smell, hear, and interact with other people.
The physical store on its part provides everything the internet can’t – a tactile shopping experience and human interaction.
As our ability to consume remotely is increased, so does our need for physical experiences and the sense of security that comes from consulting experts, the trusted advisors of the past.
The question is: which shall prevail?
It’s hard to answer unequivocally, and in any case, only time will tell. However, it’s safe to assume that both trends will continue to develop side by side, and as technology offers new possibilities, consumers’ need for basic interaction will become more pronounced. The result will be a combination of in-store technologies, augmented reality, virtual reality, and more. Simulators that offer customers an in-store virtual experience are already in use – in certain clothing stores, for example. The store has become just another link in the shopping chain, together with the internet and mobile phones. Physical stores will continue to evolve, but they’ll never go away completely.