According to a new whitepaper from Plusnet called ‘How the future will influence retail’, in the not so distant future, consumers will shop till they drop using virtual reality (VR) from the comfort of their own homes. The report, which gathers experts from a wide range of sectors makes detailed predictions about how things such as the Internet of Things (IOT), ecommerce, AI, geolocation and web design will change and evolve. The report highlights seven key areas that startups and small businesses should be concentrating on to engage with future changes and keep ahead of their competitors.

Websites: These should be as engaging, immersive and ambitious as possible. Improved connectivity and broadband speeds in the coming future should help with this vision.

Site speed: As general internet speeds increase across the board, site speed will be a vital consideration for internet retailers. As well as helping to increase conversion rates, it is generally thought to be an important ranking signal for search engines such as Google.

Less physical shopping: Less and less people will take trips to bricks and mortar stores, with more consumers expecting to be able to order goods and services from smart appliances from the comfort of their own home.

Personalisation: Whilst stores will generally expect fewer physical customers, those that do make the effort to shop in stores will generally expect a more personalised in-store shopping experience.

Virtual reality: WIth VR, consumers will be able to try on and use items from the comfort of their own home. Clothing brands and fashion technology companies will have to be at the cutting edge to make the most of this development.

Geotech: More and more retailers will be serving personalised promotions to their customers that are based on their likes, dislikes and increasingly thought geolocation technology.

Contributor Al Allaway, CEO of CAB Studios, said:

“Innovation is lacking a little in this area – all ecommerce looks the same on the whole nowadays. VR offers up the opportunity to take that to the next level, where in your house you could try on those trainers and actually look at yourself in them – potentially even download and print a 3D mould to ensure the comfort and shape is to your liking. All this before you press the button, and have it all delivered to your house within the hour.”

Another contributor, Michael Lewis, founder CEO of RoomSignal, said:

Stores will be intelligent, able to predict shopping patterns, and control advertising and supply chains simply due to data science and interconnectivity. In fact, while everyone beats the drum of retail’s demise, I see a different future. For at least two generations more, teens will be able to go to the malls because self-driving cars can take them there. This means more foot traffic for retailers that are operating more efficiently and squeezing more revenue out of their margins.”

More info on the report can be found on the Plusnet website.

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