IBM reckons physical stores will 'beat' etailers over next five years - PC Retail

IBM reckons physical stores will 'beat' etailers over next five years

"Local shops will give us an immersive, mixed real and virtual experience"
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The bricks and mortar retailer is set to make online-only stores "look quaint" over the next five years thanks to an influx of in-store technology, predicts IBM.

"Over the next five years, local stores and shops will flip the javascript by giving us an immersive, mixed real and virtual experience," said IBM researcher Sima Nadler.

"And being local will become increasingly important as shoppers demand the instant gratification of their purchases. Two-day shipping will feel like snail mail when a local store can offer customers a variety of fast pick-up or delivery options, wherever they are.

"Watson’s app development platform is already moving into this physical-virtual space. The startup, Fluid, has layered Watson on top of its Expert Personal Shopper app for retail brands. So by next year, Watson will be your personal shopping assistant.

"Store associates will also have similar intelligent tech providing them instant product information, customer loyalty data, sales histories, user reviews, blogs and magazines, so that when you do need to talk with another human, they know exactly how to help."

For example, IBM Research is exploring prototype software called the Virtual Stylist that uses data to help retailers more accurately predict clothing a customer will like, based on what complements the existing contents of their closet and their preferences.

"Rather than basing your recommendations on what others buy, the Virtual Stylist would let retailers look at items you recently purchased or showed interest in and tailor recommendations based on your unique taste and styles that will complement your existing wardrobe," added IBM. "And best of all, you can take your purchase home that day. No over-night delivery needed."

You can check out IBM's video below:

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