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The Visible Value Blog

Retail 2026: What will retail look like?

Posted by Karen Wallis

December 5, 2016 at 7:05 AM


The future’s a scary place. Technology has taken over.  Robot cashiers serve customers throughout the retail environment and intricate (yet subtle) scanning technology recognises the identity of each and every individual who walks through the door, adapting the in-store experience accordingly. As they progress through the store, consumers interact with personalised data screens displaying information based on their own digital profile and each one follows a data driven customer journey, built to maximise their odds of purchase. 


This Minority Report-esque vision of the future of retail may sound far fetched, but in reality, it isn’t all that far away – trust me, I’ve worked with some of the world’s leading retail companies, and I’ve seen what’s to come. With the current speed of technological development, we may all be manipulating holographic data screens in-store, sooner than we ever imagined. With the likes of mood advertising, iBeacons, and facial recognition technology already deployed, it’s only a matter of time before the technical revelations we regularly see on the big screen, start to appear in our everyday lives. 


The world of retail is experiencing a digital revolution and retailers with their finger on the button are set to take full advantage of the benefits cutting-edge technology can deliver.


Throughout the last decade alone, retailers have revolutionised how we shop – driven largely by our constant desire as consumers to enjoy a “bigger and better” experience. We now have the ability to serve ourselves and scan our own shopping, either at the checkout or even while we shop. This has not only reduced the wage bill of staff behind the till, but also given us the opportunity to personalise our shopping experience, how we, as consumers, want to.


To bring this vision of the digital future to life, baby steps are necessary in order to lay the foundation for further developments. Connecting barcode technology and scanning ability with real customer insight is the first stop on the journey to a modernised retail environment.


The majority of retailers have so far focused their efforts to modernise on the areas that deliver the most value, and this has reaped significant rewards. Moving forward, these future-facing companies are set to expand their reach further, digitally optimising every nook and cranny to ensure all in-store space is optimised to meet the consumer’s every need.


Pursuing this strategy, retailers will look to adopt mobile technology that empowers the consumer. Technology like the Zebra MC1X Personal Shopper series can enhance the shopping experience, enabling consumers to instantly locate items throughout the store, check pricing and even offer a means of delivering personalised promotions throughout their shop.


The future is bright for retailers and consumers alike. As new technologies arrive and continue to enhance and evolve the way retailers interact, consumers will enjoy an improved and more personalised experience that not only delivers greater satisfaction, but also, reduces inconvenience and simplifies the ‘art’ of shopping. 


Learn more about our technology solutions for retail by visiting our One Store, One Experience site.

Topics: Retail, Future of Retail, retail technology, Zebra MC1X Personal Shopper series