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OPINON: The borders between online and offline retail are becoming more blurred

Laura Barnes
OPINON: The borders between online and offline retail are becoming more blurred

Wilfried Beeck, CEO of ePages, takes a look at what will shake up the retail industry over the next year.

If there is one thing that we know for sure about the future of PC and tech retail, it is that its evolution will accelerate.

Shopping is increasingly becoming an experience that can begin at anytime and anywhere. But which are the most important trends that will definitely shake the industry in 2014?

A worldwide research project, under the heading “Next in Commerce”, has revealed that the borders between online and offline retail are becoming more and more blurred.

Some pioneers already show solutions that will link both retail stores and online businesses in the future. A field of groundbreaking innovations are applications for customers’ mobile devices. As smartphones and tablets are increasingly turning into intelligent shopping agents, it is only logical to use them in PC and tech retail too.

The start-up, Sonic Notify, is now using audio signals to offer smartphone users exclusive content such as coupons, websites and videos straight to their devices. The audio signals, which are inaudible to the human ear, activate the customers’ smartphones. The devices show them the desired content from the sending company. This technique dramatically lowers the risk to lose the customers’ attention and see them browsing on competitors’ websites.

As customers in bricks and mortar shops have become price-sensitive through the permanent availability of price comparison portals on their smartphones, retailers such as Toys R Us started to make prices transparent. Therefore, they display their online competitors’ offerings in real time by digital signage solutions right next to its own product range.

By adopting this development, PC retailers are in danger of entering a price war which is very hard to win.

Wilfried Beeck is the CEO of ePages.
www.epages.com

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Tags: Retail, Opinion, online retail, Wilfried Beeck

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