Smart watches and smart speakers are set to be ‘the next retail battleground’, according to home delivery experts Fastlane International.
The company has warned that smart watchers such as the Apple Watch, and smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, will transform the retail industry ‘in just a few years’.
Fastlane said that retailers will have to move smartly to keep up with changing consumer habits, with 12% of households owning at least one smart watch in 2016 – an increase from 3% in 2015 – and the market for smart speakers expected to grow to £7 billion globally by 2022.
Fastlane’s head of consumer research, David Jinks, said: ‘The Apple Watch is already a boon to lazy shoppers like myself. Ocado and Just Eat Apps are accessible all the time; and make it easy to book home deliveries on the go.
“But it’s not only pure-play online retailers who benefit from the new tech. If it’s a local shop I’m after, clever tools like Find Near Me are great for hunting down nearby stores. And look out for Watch List; you check off the items on your list as you go, and the app even re-orders the list to follow the layout of your local supermarket next time!”
The platforms changing the face of grocery retail and delivery.
But Jinks warned that the rise in new-age technologies was another reason to be concerned for the future of bricks-and-mortar stores.
“Online specialists and larger retailers are going to hoover up sales from stores that don’t have apps or appear on third-party ones. And next-generation apps will really have the smarts. Based on location and history, they will be able to tell an in-store customer they are passing a product they need, or a sales promotion they will be particularly interested in.
“Consumers and retailers are already buying, selling and shipping with these new technologies. But many retailers haven’t even produced responsive sites that work with mobile phones. Smart tech could hit many retailers where it really hurts… their bottom line.”
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