This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Retail series which interviews the world’s leading retail experts to better understand how the industry has evolved and most importantly, where it’s headed.
The following is from an interview with Camila Alvarez, CTO and Co-Founder at Impresee
**This interview was conducted prior to the Coronavirus outbreak**
What personally excites you the most about the retail industry?
CA: The amount of innovation that can be used to continuously enhance user experience. For example, you can apply different advanced AI-based techniques to make the search and navigation experience faster, better and more fun for the visitors.
What has been the most dramatic change you’ve seen in the industry over the past 3-5 years?
CA: I think that for me the most dramatic change I’ve seen is how images have started to gain so much importance in the retail world. It’s not only about how the products have to be portrayed beautifully but also on how consumers are starting to use images to perform queries, let it be inside Pinterest, Google Images or even inside websites that integrate visual search.
What are the top trends you see shaping brick and mortar retail in the next 3-5 years?
CA: New in-store experiences, such as smarter totems that will allow visitors to navigate and play inside the store. Consumers will feel motivated to visit the brick and mortar stores and they will feel that buying online feels pretty much the same. That is to say, eCommerce and brick and mortar retail will merge, resulting in a full omnichannel experience.
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry in the next 3-5?
CA: All AI-based technology will completely change how consumers interact with retailers. Search technologies such as visual search and creative search will be of common use. Other tools like recommendations and email marketing will be more accurate, resulting in a higher conversion. Also, as a result of the usage of these tools eCommerce will become completely omnichannel.
What’s the future of brick and mortar retail?
CA: There are some that believe that brick and mortar retail will disappear, for me it’s not like that. I believe that it will actually learn to adapt and that it will acquire different technologies that will make visits so entertaining that people will keep buying in brick and mortar. Soon we will see kids drawing on smart totems on brick and mortar stores, just to play and to show their parents what kind of toys they like.