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A new study predicts how AI will impact the future of retail

By Robyn Turk


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In celebration of its 25th anniversary QVC UK wanted to take a look into what retail will be like in another 25 years. The digital retailer joined forces with The Future Laboratory, a strategic foresight consultancy, to make an educated prediction as to the retail trends of 2043.

It is no surprise that artificial intelligence is predicted to be a driving force in the retail market of the near future. Technological advancements are already bringing forward developments within the retail space. Brands are using AI in digital marketing campaigns and in product development.

Released last week, The Future Laboratory’s report predicts that AI and virtual reality will be a commonplace part of the consumer experience as well, bringing essential aspects of brick and mortar shopping to the convenience of ecommerce. Shoppers will be able to use apps to determine accurate measurements to improve clothing fits. Beauty brands will develop sensory experiences to allow consumers to smell products digitally.

The Future Laboratory predictions highlight two tech-based components of retail in 2043: virtual retail, and convenience brought on by technology. Deliveries will all take under 24 hours, and drones will be a major factor in bringing items more quickly.

Virtual retail technologies will allow any space to act as a store. The report stated, “cars will be transformed into moving living rooms, where shoppers will be able to consume video content and be able to purchase items of interest through simple voice commands or hand gestures.”

Technology can’t entirely replace brick and mortar

By 2043, The Future Laboratory believes that virtual and augmented reality will take the place of brick and mortar stores in many regards. This would mean that high-street shopping will decrease in necessity, in place of virtual showrooms and holographic products. In a future retail landscape such as this, the only essential purpose to brick and mortar stores will be to bring in the aspect of community. Without this communal component, AI and virtual reality retail would be emotionless and could threaten trust between the consumer and the brand. Technology will solve many problems within retail, but cannot take place of true face-to-face interactions.

Photo: Pixabay

The Future Laboratory