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Retail Forecast: Omni Channel Retail

The Retail Forecast blog series is an exercise in prognostication. Gensler’s retail designers from across the country explain the trends currently affecting how people shop and predict how these trends will play out in the near future.

Retailers have always been quick to leverage the power of technology. When iPads and other touch screen devices made their way onto the open market, retailers quickly integrated these devices into their stores, allowing customers to search inventories and access detailed product information at the swipe of a finger.

Those innovations now seem somewhat passé. Technology tends to ramp up the speed of innovation and change, and to keep pace retailers are now utilizing data collection methods to better understand consumer shopping habits and curate their offerings to meet ever changing demand. By tracking and analyzing data with sophisticated tools, retailers can monitor in-store customer movements to understand what products draw the most attention. They can even receive alerts whenever a customer is approaching a store, and have an order ready for pick-up.

While this may be of concern to some customers by evoking images of “Big Brother” like monitoring systems, it’s important to remember that these data programs are, usually, opt-in and the end result is that they increase convenience.

While data collection may sit at the current forefront of technological innovation, you can be sure some other new technology looms on the horizon ready to impact how retailers do business. Change in this industry is constant and inevitable.

Data collection helps retailers better curate product offerings. Image © Gensler

Owain Roberts
Owain Roberts is a retail design director and senior associate in Gensler’s London office. With a clear understanding that consumers see design as a single idea, not a series of separate elements, he encourages a seamless relationship between graphic design and environmental design to create complete retail experiences. His broad range of experience in environmental design covers both retail and commercial interiors and also branding exercises for high profile projects. Contact him at owain_roberts@gensler.com.

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