New research by Broll entitled From E- to M- to A Commerce: The Impact of Technology on the Retail Industry a new trend called a-commerce – also known as augmented commerce – is starting to take shape to complement the e-commerce (online) and m-commerce (mobile device) shopping trends.
Augmented commerce (a-commerce) relates to retail that utilises augmented reality, enabling customers to visualise products virtually in the real-world environment before purchasing. Although not yet entrenched in the SA marketplace, it is something that all retailers should keep an eye on and be ready to implement.
The key according to Malcolm Horne, CEO of Broll Property Group, is to keep abreast of international technological advancements in the retail space, acquire brands which meet their consumers’ expectations and demands, and be ready to integrate new technologies into their day-to-day operations.
The million dollar question is whether the current ‘bricks-and-mortar’ formula will survive or be overtaken by digital shopping. Savvy retailers are already consolidating their operations by closing their under-performing stores and putting more into e-commerce fulfilment centres to beef up their online income stream.
What remains popular is the concept of ‘click and collect’ which retailers such as Dis-Chem, Clicks, Pick n Pay, Mr Price Group and Cotton On are using as a convenient shopping service for time-strapped customers.
With Amazon opening up their Amazon Go store – a partially-automated, cashless and till-free store which allows shoppers to shop using the Amazon Go mobile app – there seems to be another twist in the retail environment.