27 January 2022
Author: The Future Laboratory
The majority (68%) of consumers polled in new research from Currys say their day-to-day life is dependent on technology, spending an average of eight hours using 11 pieces of technology each day.
As technologies advance, living realities will evolve to become even more hybrid, straddling the physical and digital. It’s essential that people have the right devices to do the job.
‘The world is just becoming so much more hybrid: the world of work, the world of retail and everything in between. In the future, we won’t know where the physical world ends and the digital world begins,’ says Natalie Berg, retail analyst and founder of NBK Retail.’
We’re on the cusp of a new era of truly seamless omni-channel shopping as savvy retailers grasp hybrid tech with both hands. With virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) technologies blurring the boundaries between physical and digital, the future path to purchase will transform with anytime, anywhere commerce reaching its full potential. The experience of shopping for the technologies that inform and enable our daily environments and lifestyles will evolve to meet consumers where they are.
People are increasingly aware of fake reviews, fake news and fake endorsements. They’re tired of targeted ads, algorithmic influence, ineffective bots and mindless consumption. When shopping for technology, consumers want to simplify the journey to getting the right product through real, rather than just perceived, convenience.
Here, we explore influential trends transforming shoppers’ needs, demands and expectations now:
: The Convenience Paradox
Online shopping has evolved to bring us almost instant gratification as we click and collect or receive delivery of items within hours. Now, physical stores are introducing the same frictionless experience with technologies that scan products in real time, resulting in zero need for human-to-human interaction.
: Bot Backlash
In line with the convenience paradox, consumers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with bots and algorithms. Only 13% of tech consumers say they prefer a chatbot when researching pre-purchase and just 25% of shoppers say they find these chatbots helpful when deciding to buy a piece of tech.
: Rise of the Genuinfluencers
Consumers are increasingly aware of fake influencer and celebrity endorsements and are questioning the value of their recommendations. This is leading to a new breed of authentic influencers, dubbed genuinfluencers.
Discover our Eco-venience Retail macrotrend – a look at how accelerating e-commerce and demands for expedited delivery are forcing a new framework that puts eco-conscious practices at the centre of retail operations.
Brands are rethinking the customer experience to fit multiple hybrid formats, recognising the long-term value of connecting with their customers by putting service before sales. To form these connections, retailers need sales associates who are genuine product experts with high levels of emotional intelligence.
Here, we explore the trends that will define tech retail and the shopper journey in the next decade and beyond:
: HI Experiences
Human intelligence (HI) is the number one factor consumers think tech retailers need to focus on. Retailers are responding by unlocking the true potential of their sales staff through investment in skills and knowledge.
: Specialist Curation
Some 69% of consumers say they’ve been spending more time shopping online over the past two years, but 36% think that online tech retailers need to improve online support to help them make the right choice. Only 18% say retailers are doing enough. The expert associates of the future will be easy to reach via multiple platforms, helping consumers to sift through an often dizzying range of products.
: Metamerce Media
In a future when brands and retailers act like media companies, dedicated e-commerce platforms could disappear and be replaced by a seamless stream of content, social media and conversation. ‘Increasingly, media, in all forms, is becoming the store,’ writes retail futurist Doug Stephens.
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