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Your future shopping experiences might be much more automated, but they also might be much more personal than today's trips to the store.
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The traditional retail industry is in a crisis. Massive numbers of outlets are closing their doors. Some in the business have even dubbed it the “retail apocalypse.” In their efforts to ride out the disaster, a growing number of organizations are betting big on technology to help them survive.
According to Fung Global Retail & Technology, 6,985 brick-and-mortar stores closed in 2017. That was more than twice as many as closed the previous year — 229% more, to be precise. By some estimates that’s even more retail outlets than closed during 2008 at the height of the financial recession.
And, 2018 isn’t shaping up to be much better with companies like Toys R Us, Bon-Ton, GNC, Foot Locker, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lord & Taylor, Sears, Kmart, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Gap and many other announcing major closures.
Most economists say it’s a complex mix of different factors. But some store managers will say it all boils down to one word: Amazon.
Brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to compete against online retailers. Consumer preferences have shifted, and companies haven’t been able to change fast enough to meet those new needs.
For many of the firms that haven’t gone out of business, the way ahead seems clear. If they are going to compete against e-commerce and win, they’re going to have to fight fire with fire. That means digital transformation.
According to IDC, retail spending on digital transformation is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 20.2%, which is faster than overall digital transformation spending.
That digital transformation means investing in new technologies that will transform the way we shop. The following slideshow highlights 10 of the ways that technology is reshaping the retail industry.
Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio
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