Decades ago, retail was based on relationships: When people walked through the front door, the merchant personally greeted them and asked how they could help. Customers trusted the merchant to help them with what they needed and educate them about new items on the shelf.
Over time, the personalized approach was lost and consumers no longer felt the same loyalty to the retailer. Today, retailers are working to enhance their shoppers’ experience, knowing that at the same time customers have options to shop wherever and whenever they want, often without stepping inside a store. Retailers have to anticipate a shopper’s buying behavior, whether the route they take begins with a website, social site or the parking lot outside of their store. They need to provide a compelling and personalized way to rekindle the special bond between the shopper and their brand. It’s complex and confusing. But it also provides immense opportunities.
Following on Motorola Solutions’ Annual Holiday Survey in December 2011, we conducted a survey of 250 U.S.-based retail executives in May 2012 to understand what impact omni-channel retail trends are having on their business, the drivers to change and their plans to use mobile technologies within the next five years. The survey shows that merchants today are struggling with meeting consumers’ “want it here, want it now” mentality while finding the right balance between their online presence and brick and mortar store locations.
This paper examines the future of retail, including changing shopper mindsets and behaviors, and the new expectations shoppers have for their in-store experience.