The retail industry is at a tipping point, confronted with a changing technology landscape and shifting consumer expectations. Therefore, retailers must evolve to meet the rapid changes occurring in the industry. The store of the future will look a lot different than we see it today, spurred by an array of technologies that will create more interactive and engaging shopping experiences for consumers.

To envision the retail environment of the future, we must first examine how innovation is changing shoppers.

The connected consumer effect

Today, mobile and social networks are merely an extension of a customer’s identity. As a result, customers expect hyper-personalized experiences wherever they go. Shoppers also expect convenience, flexibility and an element of star treatment from their favorite brands, be it a retailer, restaurant or hotel. This is why personalization is now a critical success factor for brands. The connected consumer is not only shaping the store of the future but also how brands and shoppers engage with one another as well.

We’re already seeing retailers adapting to shoppers’ expectations with an omnichannel approach to engagement. However, the connected consumer is also influencing the design of brick-and-mortar environments. Eventually, every retailer will have an omnichannel approach and every shopping experience will be personalized. This will be the norm rather than the buzzwords they are today.

In the days following Apple’s introduction of its mobile payment platform, Apple Pay, much of the conversation has focused on whether or not the tech giant can convince shoppers to ditch the plastic in favor of the smartphone. Although only time will tell, many industry experts, including Certona, believe the company’s reputation for pushing emerging technologies into the mainstream bodes well. However, there are those who believe Apple’s renewed focus on security will be the deciding factor.

In the wake of the media firestorm that resulted from the recent iCloud hacking scandal, Apple launched a campaign to clarify how the company uses personal data and to promote its dedication to protecting such data. While there are skeptics, Apple’s renewed focus on security highlights three lessons that may not only impact Apple Pay’s success, but the success of brands nationwide who rely on customer data to improve the user experience.