Here my answers to the Four Questions About Retailing Future?
Excellent article of Forbes about retailing, asking 4 very important questions about how retail is evolving.
Here are my answers to those questions, which are actually pretty close to the vision of Forbes.
Can virtual reality and augmented reality replace the brick and mortar experience?
It will depend of the category of products. Some senses will always feel better in real than in augmented reality. I don't believe fabric could be one day copied to have a clear benefit with augmented reality. Let's see how glasses vendors have failed to use top of the line augmented reality to boost their online sales.
Furthermore, I believe people will always like to go shopping as I consider shopping as a social experience. This is the reason why brick & mortar remains the most dominant kind of commerce.
Will shopping become cashless?
Yes, of course. But as the article points out, security is a key issue when talking about cash free payments.
How will the Internet of Things (IoT) transform logistics?
To me, the answer given is not answering the question. Indeed, Internet of things may help customers in decision making. I especially think about Auchan's initiative with Hiku, a connected object allowing the customer to edit its shopping list by scanning barcodes, or with voice recognition.
But about logistics, are they thinking about the drones? So far I believe a lot of work can be done to adapt logistics to the new omnichannel concept, to have a better look at inventory either at the supplier, in the warehouse or in store. Also, new ways to be more efficient in transportation can be found by big data, and could give an edge to the trailblazers. This is the reason why every body is investing in supply chain.
Will the “sharing economy” be the end of retail?
I don't think so, but initiative to implement some part of sharing economy in the retailing process will emerge for sure. Some categories such as video games or home improvement hardware could see a big lift to implement sharing economy. Also, the sharing economy could be used to improve product delivery, by ride sharing, or by having new ways to deliver goods for E merchants. But yet, people will still need retailers to get innovation and most of their commodity goods.