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Retail revolution: retailers to integrate AI, AR and Robots into shopping services

Chloe Burney
17 May 2023

New data reveals that the next generation of consumers is expecting high-tech innovations to be incorporated into their shopping experiences, including brick-and-mortar retail.

Research conducted by Klarna, the global payments and shopping service, revealed how retailers will need to adapt their offerings to appeal to shoppers in the future. With recent advancements in technology, AI, AR and robots are likely to dominate both e-commerce and physical retail landscapes. Klarna, for example, is already adding AI to its services.

Teaming up with Kate Hardcastle MBE, otherwise dubbed ‘the Customer Whisperer’, Klarna's 'The Future of Retail' report explores the ways in which retailers can evolve the shopping experience. The study, which included 5,000 consumers in five countries, examined shopping habits 18 years from now, when Gen Z’ers and Millennials are the dominant consumers.

Kate Hardcastle MBE, said: "Retail and shopping trends have evolved significantly over the last decade and it's clear there are more changes to come. Technologies like augmented reality have the potential to transform rundown physical shops and revamp the in-store experience for shoppers. Klarna's latest research shows that consumers want greater convenience and a more personalised shopping experience - and seamless technology must be at the heart of this."

Results revealed shoppers' predictions on the emerging technologies' influence in the future of retail:

  • More personalisation is number one on wishlists: 70% want the shopping experience to become more personalised in the future, and 42% are sure it will be.
  •  Most fashion shoppers won’t try clothes on physically: 40% want to use virtual dressing rooms, 18% Augmented Reality (AR), and 23% will rely on AI to advise.
  • Robot fashion advisors and virtual shopping assistants are in high demand: Half of Gen Z’ers (50%) are open to the idea of a robot approaching them in-store to take their measurements and recommend styles. What’s more, 34% want access to virtual ‘personal shoppers’ who can provide bespoke recommendations.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) will elevate the future in-store shopping experience: The majority of Gen Z’ers (81%) and Millennials (75%) expect AR to enhance their in-store experience.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) won’t replace the real-life shopping experience: Less than half of Gen Z'ers (41%) and Millennials (38%) believe that shopping in VR will come to surpass the real-life shopping experience within the next two decades.
  • The future is cashless: Consumers of all ages (57%) agree with the prediction that the majority of physical stores will be completely cash-free in 18 years' time.

David Sandström, Chief Marketing Officer at Klarna, commented: "In the Western world, approximately 80% of all online purchases are made through search, while the remaining 20% are based on personalised recommendations. In contrast, in China, 80% of online purchases are driven by personalised recommendations. This study confirms that shoppers in the Western world desire a comparable shopping experience."

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