As much as retail is changing before our eyes, our smartphones could once again rev up the industry’s evolution in a few short years.
Much faster 5G technology is in development that will dwarf the 4G LTE smartphones we carry around and increasingly use to shop. Imagine if data connections were 10 times faster than your current state-of-the-art smartphone.
The number of mobile American shoppers reportedly has jumped from 67 million in 2014 to more than 100 million last year. As these numbers grow with the speed of phones, the retailers capable of keeping pace with the advancements in technology will enjoy the best chance of thriving in the future.
In Information Week, author Corey Pierson, co-founder and CEO of Custora, a leader in advanced customer analytics for retail, has reported on the possibilities 5G speed could bring to retail. He predicts 5G will make it easier to customize merchandise and make drone delivery possible. Virtual reality dressing rooms and augmented reality experiences at home and in-store also would be available to expand the customer experience
On another front, facial recognition technology could allow retailers to identify VIP customers as they entered a store and provide real-time interaction based upon a person’s recorded preferences. The same customer could exit the store without digging for a credit card because their payment information would be on file.
As with any new technology, the future is not fully predictable. We don’t know how long it will take to ensure stability and reliability or if it will be affordable?
What’s more certain is that 5G is coming with the promise of vastly superior connectivity to retailers. Very different and exciting times are ahead for consumers and sellers alike.