This article was a cover story in The Venture Magazine – What does the future have in store for retail? Kelly Slessor discusses the future of retail. Kelly Slessor is the founder of the personalized virtual shopping mall Shop You. Slessor shares her insights on how the pandemic is helping to speed up its arrival.
Retail is broken
To begin with, it’s no secret that retail is broken. That was true before the novel coronavirus shut down storefronts across the globe.
COVID-19 has revealed that retailers are being forced to think about how customers shop in the real world. Realising and understanding this will enhance the customer experience in the future.
When e-commerce was launched, it made retailers forget about humans. It removes the personal touch of an in-person experience. What retailers need to do is to create a smooth connection between online and in-store.
Innovations such as a virtual try-on will increase customer satisfaction and reduce waste. It’s not just about ordering something that fits a customer’s body. Shoppers want clothes that fit their personalities. In fact, Slessor views it as the gap between online and in-store experiences. So, she has been working on a personalization formula for Shop You.
Today, we are seeing more cashier-less stores with contactless payment systems. Of course it’s convenient, but it’s also safer during the pandemic. The ‘Click & Collect’ option will rise over the next several years. Again, it reduces contact and increases convenience over time.
Retailers looking to remain part of the customer journey must move to multichannel. Otherwise, left behind. So, retailers will need to keep the human aspect of the shopping experience. For instance, asking customers questions and getting to know them. Rather than presenting customers with a catalogue.
Shop You is a virtual mall that will give customers an online experience of an in-person experience. Customers will be able to find what they’re looking for and get it in a way that is convenient for them.
To sum up, adding customization elements to the online experience will drive customer satisfaction. This also gives augmented reality another purpose.