If you had a time machine and could leap forward to 2014, what do you think the world of retail would look like? Would it be very different from what it is now? A new study from eBay tries to answer these questions by looking into the future.
The study suggests that the latest developments in shopping technology could deliver a £2.4bn sales boost to the UK’s retail sector by 2014. New technology like augmented reality, which projects digital information onto physical products, could indirectly generate an additional £9.1bn of sales within the next two years, eBay estimates.
However, the report predicts that interactive TV will be the most influential new technology for retail, with 25% of people regularly shopping via this medium by the end of 2014. Other examples of technological progress such as a fridge ordering food and a virtual image of a consumer trying on clothes online will also push sales upwards by up to 4%, the report claims.
These developments are referred to as the third wave of technological revolution, following online and mobile that have changed retail fundamentally. Yet, together with the huge opportunities for business, the new developments will bring a number of challenges to retailers as well, eBay notes. The report concludes that brands which fail to embrace new technology and to adapt to new customer demands will seriously lag behind others and can hardly expect any growth at all.