We get it. Retail is over-malled, over-leveraged and “over-Amazoned.” How in the world will retailers ever survive, let alone thrive, in this environment?

This is how. Listening to shoppers across the globe, analyzing the shopping activity of more than 300 million shoppers, and heeding the guidance of dozens of retail experts, the future of retail comes into focus to reveal the three pillars that will not only support today’s retail but form the foundation of where retail is fast headed:

  • Mobile
  • Unified Experience
  • Immersive intelligence

Here are some of he highlights from our latest report, Shopper First Retailing, produced in partnership with SapientRazorfish.

Mobile is the New Retail Pillar
We’ve long stated the case for mobile as a digital pillar – with shoppers now making 53% of their visits to retail sites on phones. But mobile is more than just browsing:

  • Buyers are more mobile than we thought – while 32% of orders are on mobile, those buyers make 40% of their visits on phones.
  • A majority, 59%, of in-store shoppers report that they have used their phone while in store to either research, price-check or even buy just in the last three months!

It is clear that mobile is the most disruptive force in retail since retail went digital.

Stores Remain a Destination
Shoppers are also helping throw some shade at the narrative that the sun is setting on stores. We found that…

  • Stores are supporting digital’s growth thanks to buy online pick-up in-store and endless aisle initiatives. Taken together, the four walls of the store are touching more than 50% of digital sales.
  • Shoppers are clearly looking to leave a store with product in hand. While there is much buzz about inventory-less stores, 79% of shoppers are expecting to leave the store with the product in hand.

Intelligence is Going Deeper
Retailers agree that it is time to ‘break the box’ and go deeper than the standard YMAL (you may also like). While our research found that predictive intelligence on product detail pages is boosting average order values and overall revenue per visitor by double digits, the more interesting view is where artificial intelligence goes next. Look for site search, which currently accounts for 9% of all visits and 23% of all digital sales, to be infused with AI, as merchants look to more scientifically connect shopper and product. Simply put, every interaction a shopper has with a brand will be infused with AI.

There’s much more in the full report, including stories from leading global retailers Cotton On, Engelhorn, Pier 1 Imports, and Orchestra. I encourage you take a look at the full report: Shopper-First Retailing: What consumers are Telling Us about the Future of Shopping.