Shopping in the Future Is Gonna Suck

According to a new report from JWT Intelligence, the future of brick-n-mortar retail is an intertwined mess of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and targeted experiences. So get ready for that!

The report, which was detailed by Forbes, states that “The future of retail is becoming less about screens and even less about buttons… It’s one of total immersion, intuitiveness and invisibility… total disintermediation from every previous traditional route to consumer,” which somehow sounds both meditative and terrifying.

Detailing the different sales channels customers will encounter moving forward, the report predicts that technology like voice-command shopping and augmented reality will become major selling points for retailers. It’s also predicted that 50 percent of all mobile search queries will be “initiated through virtual personal assistants” by the end of 2017 (apparently, two out of every three 18 – 34 year olds in America already own a device that responds to voice commands, a number that jumps to 80 percent in China). And there’s already technology out there that can digitally “apply” makeup to customers faces before they buy it, which companies are now working on applying to the clothing try-on process.

But the most important factor for success in future retail, the report predicts, will be the ability to provide an experience.

“Experience culture has come so far that it’s increasingly becoming the key driver in consumer spending, making the store experience more important than ever,” the report says. “This new era is one without cash registers, prices, staff or postal addresses. It’s one which is, or soon will be, anticipatory, cognitive, hyper-personalized and diagnostic.”

That last sentence could also be applied to Westworld, only minus the robot hookers.

You can read more about it at Forbes.

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