The in-store shopping experience is increasingly being transformed into a digitally enhanced experience for both the customer and retailer. Technologies such as beacons, retail store analytics, and store fulfillment programs are rapidly changing the definition of how a retail store operates and engages with customers. While 68% of customers use a mobile device while in a store, retailers are just beginning to take an active role in that in-store digital experience.

Forrester believes that, in the future, retail stores that drive convenience, service, and relevant personalized experiences through the use of digital store technology will succeed. Why? Because today. customers show an affinity for digital store technology. In fact, 66% of luxury apparel customers are more likely to shop with a digitally-enabled associate. Those retailers who wait on the sidelines are at risk of maintaining the status quo and may only grow marginally.

In 2015, Forrester predicts that:

The digital store platform will emerge. Retailers will realize greater value by connecting enterprise and point systems together to enable the digital store to operate in real time. For instance, in the case of task management, omnichannel store fulfillment orders that require pick and pack tasks will now be inserted into modern task management tools, allowing associates to perform omnichannel tasks side-by-side with traditional store tasks such as restocking shelves. eBusiness leaders who seek to rapidly deploy new digital store capabilities will require the agility to swap out modular components to create a retail store “ecosystem of value.”  In order to achieve this state, the store must act as a platform, connecting functionality together with a common set of data.

Technology that focuses on service and convenience will shine.  Although in-store experiential technologies exist today, most implementations will fail to provide a positive ROI because they lack meaningful use cases and do not create convenience for customers. Look for retailers in 2015 to focus on digital store technologies that help customers and associates complete tasks faster and with greater insight.

In the document titled “Predictions 2015: The Digital Store Platform Will Support The Retail Store Of The Future”, Forrester will also make the call on the business case for mobile point of service (mPOS), beacons, and retailer response to these technologies. Please set up an inquiry with me to discuss these trends in greater detail. Be sure to check out our full list of 2015 predictions, which includes a report that predicts how your business technology department will leverage big data and the Internet of Things to make the digital store platform a reality.