Retail today looks completely different than it did five years ago, and five years from now it will look completely different than it does today. Technology is advancing at a pace that requires retailers to not just keep pace with these changes, but stay ahead of the adoption curve in order to remain competitive and top of mind for consumers.
The past five years have focused largely on the sophistication of omnichannel retail. This essentially entailed putting nice wrappers around a number of backend technologies to present a frictionless user experience to the customer. However, the next five years will be defined by unified commerce or bringing all disjointed systems together into one system of record that provides cohesiveness and visibility across systems.
This integration will allow for a level of personalization that consumers have yet to experience, and a retail journey that is entirely seamless across every channel, device, and touch point with a brand. And all of this will be possible thanks to machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).