Posted by Ben Cheston

After reading a report from Forbes on future trends for retailers, I wanted to share some thoughts on how technology will play a role in high street shopping. Here are three trends that accompany the rise of interactive technology in the high-street retail environment and the automation/augmenting of traditional sales assistant roles.

Welcome concierge — Retail stores will know that a customer is intending to visit the store; therefore welcome messaging and servicing will begin before the customer has even approached the doors. Customers will receive helpful messaging as part of the shopping experience, from travel information (traffic on the road on the way to the store) to queue lengths in the store (we’re experiencing high volume of people in the store, queue times are around 6 minutes).

A more rewarding shopping trip — Retailers will offer their customers greater value and rewards for shopping in the store. They will have an understanding of where they’ve been, what they’ve done and probably what they’ve bought. With this information, retailers can tailor rewards and drive footfall to their own shops. For example, as part of our partnership with Primark, we are offering customers that have purchased items 50% off a coffee, so please come and see us in Costa Coffee. Users will receive a more contextual customer service and a more holistic shopping experience.

Sales support will evolve to tech support — Shop floor staff and customer service staff are already being equipped with advanced smart technology to better serve the customer. Future sales assistants will provide live tech support for customers as well customer service. Whilst most technology provided in-store will be easy to use, there will invariably be customers that need support with the use of the technology. Whether it’s helping a customer to connect their own device to the in-store experience or helping a customer use the in-store technology, staff will improve a customer’s experience (and therefore drive sales) by helping them use it. Robin Phillips from Boots told Internet Retailing how they are embracing this particular trend.

I share Samsung’s Vincent Slevin’s view point on the future of bricks and mortar retail — “there is no textbook about how to do this, those who are brave enough to try, among those will be tomorrow’s leaders”. You can see more of what Samsung are doing in this video here.

Based on the technology out there, I’m excited to see how really ‘brave’ retailers are going to push the boundaries and lead this space. If anyone has an examples of this, I’d love to know more so please do share!

Originally published at