Shopper “in” sites

February 8, 2015By Future of Retail, Views

By Dave Wendland for Drug Store News

January 8, 2015

It wasn’t terribly long ago that a merchant could literally locate a storefront, hang a shingle, stock some merchandise, and claim themselves a retailer. Oh my how times have changed.

There are many “in” sites to be considered. This post serves to examine where today’s shopping is occurring, comment on how the shopper psyche has changed, and what a merchant should consider as they prepare for the next evolution.


Personally, I believe this format remains quite relevant. Perhaps that’s why some traditionally click-only retailers have experimented with brick-and-mortar retail. There will forever be a desire by shoppers to touch and feel merchandise before they purchase it. On the other hand, Zappos appears to have done quite well with an online only model and a very generous try-it and return policy. Others may follow suit but I don’t believe it makes sense for all types of merchandise.

Augmented reality

Look no further than storefronts in New York and London or mobile apps that bring power to an image through augmented reality. Walls lined with smart mirrors allow shoppers to try on garments, place orders, and have items delivered directly to their home. This model appears to have game-changing potential for the healthcare industry also…imagine the benefit in the areas of home healthcare and durable medical equipment.


I have heard some say that Internet shopping is becoming passé. Make no mistake, the web is here to stay. However, it’s the online experience that needs revamping. I believe that presenting products and solutions to deliver a more seamless and personal experience will be the next major shift in this platform.

Buy Online, Pick-up in Store

This convergence of the online and in-store models has emerged as a viable model for consumers. It offers the ubiquity of Internet-based shopping and the convenience of local store pick-up. I foresee this model continuing to gain prominence and become increasingly preferred by shoppers.


The growing penetration of smartphone technology puts a myriad of services, products, and options at a consumer’s fingertips. As the acceptance of mobile-based applications continues to expand, more and more retail-focused solutions will become common. Who would have thought that payment on mobile would so quickly become customary? In fact, analysts have estimated that mobile payments will be a $1 trillion global industry by 2017.

As shoppers turn to an omni-channel blend of online, mobile, and brick-and-mortar shopping for their convenience, brands and retailers must think of new and innovative ways to capture customer attention and bring excitement back to shopping. What’s next? I’m not sure, but I can only imagine it will be out of sight!