What to expect from Bricks-and-Mortar Retail in 2018


The graph above looks at where retail sits today and depicts the quantum leaps required for traditional bricks and mortar to catch up, not only other industry, but to their online competitors who are certainly making their presence felt in the physical world.

Bricks and mortar retailers aren’t exactly associated with progressive thinking around innovation, but given recent acquisitions and announcement, it looks like these sleeping giants are starting to wake.

The backend of 2017 saw online move into physical with digital conglomerate snapping up stakes in; Whole foods (Amazon), Sun Art Retail group (Alibaba) and Yonghui Superstores (Tencent). Although, that may be cause for concern, the incumbents are also making waves, Wal-Mart through their store No.8 which has announced its new stores offering tailored solutions for busy mothers and checkout-less options to aid the time poor customer. Kroger has recently launched a Scan-Bag-Go application, which even though relies on barcode scanning and an elevated level of customer touch points still illustrates that innovation is at the forefront of thinking.

But what can we expect from 2018 and the retail landscape? Among IMAGR’s SMARTCART solution which will be launched in April, below are some further predictions of what lay’s ahead

  1. Physical retail is in for a shake up

By this time next year roughly 90% of all retail will still be done in store. Bricks and Mortar retail is dead, boring retail is.  Where it be apparel or grocery, physical store layouts will drastically change to be more interactive and provide a more seamless experience for shoppers.

  1. Less buying, more shopping

Tying into the above, less customers will ‘buy’, and more will start to ‘shop’. Buying is a mundane task that is usually done due to a requirement. As store layouts and offerings change, the in-store experience will be such that more will start to shop. A more pleasant and relaxing experience.

  1. Convenience will be key

Gone are the days of convenience being a luxury, to keep your customers happy, it is required. Ordering everything from a taxi to shoes can all be done at your fingertips. Bricks and mortar retail will be no exception and I am betting it to be a key focus in 2018 as retailers look to remove checkouts, speed up delivery and allow for quicker overall in-store shopping experiences.

  1. Harness technology

Retailers that harness data, digital and mobility to truly know their customers and deliver a seamless, tailored experience will thrive. With the rapidly improving power of hardware and software incorporating technologies like AI, VR and AR to remove pain points, provide additional functionality and convenience has never been more achievable.

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