Brick and Mortar Retailers Must Embrace Smartphones, Aggregated Data, and Personalized Experiences to Survive, Says ABI Research

22 Mar 2016

As brick and mortar retail transforms, stores must advance their in-store retail technology and leverage the power of the smartphone or face extinction. ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology innovation market intelligence, recognizes that millennials and GenY are the agents of this revolution and identifies the stages of technological development that a retailer must undergo before the total market makeover is complete in 2025.

“Millennials play a large role in the in-store shopping revolution, as their smartphones are basically an evolutionary extension that the retail industry has yet to catch up with,” says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “The conceptual battle between brick and mortar versus online is dead. All retailers must become omnichannel and harness the power of the smartphone by developing next-generation, personalized experiences.”

As retailers do not only have one type of shopper, the first step to understanding the customer base is to bring online analytics to the real world by leveraging existing technologies, such as iBeacons, camera analytics, VLC, and Wi-Fi. Using the smartphone as a platform then creates a new way for retailers to personally engage and entice customers, while also opening a new advertising revenue channel.

“Installing an iBeacon network is not enough,” continues Connolly. “Retailers must upgrade and aggregate all data across their brick and mortar, online, and mobile outlets. It is otherwise impossible to understand the customer enough to personalize offerings, streamline processes, and create new services.”

Once retailers combine data with innovations around inventory, point of sale (POS) systems, and online information, there is an evident multiplier effect on the functionality and ROI for retailers. This concept further illustrates the ineffectiveness of brick and mortar stores’ current retail strategies, as even the idea of a fixed point of sale or a large in-store display is beginning to look incredibly outdated.

“The retail industry is notoriously slow at embracing new technology, but CEOs should view early adoption as a huge opportunity to rejuvenate their brand, while establishing themselves as industry disruptors,” concludes Connolly. “By 2025, we will be exposed to a new shopping world in which the value of a physical store will no longer be measured in sales, queuing will not exist, any surface will be a storefront, customers will be able to find and buy any item at any time, and clothing will be shared, tried on virtually, and printed at home. The path to the future should start today for smart retailers.”

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Location Technologies Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.

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About ABI Research

For more than 25 years, ABI Research has stood at the forefront of technology market intelligence, partnering with innovative business leaders to implement informed, transformative technology decisions. The company employs a global team of senior analysts to provide comprehensive research and consulting services through deep quantitative forecasts, qualitative analyses and teardown services. An industry pioneer, ABI Research is proactive in its approach, frequently uncovering ground-breaking business cycles ahead of the curve and publishing research 18 to 36 months in advance of other organizations. In all, the company covers more than 60 services, spanning 11 technology sectors. For more information, visit

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