2020 was a rough year for brick and mortar retail. A record 12,000 stores closed in the US last year, a 20% increase over the number of store closures in 2019. But for as disastrous as the pandemic has been for brick and mortar, the future may prove to be a golden opportunity for the industry. The new normal of virtual daily life has reconfigured consumer expectations around what they can buy, how they can buy it, and how quickly they can have it. Retailers who are ready to meet these expectations during the in-store shopping experience could be on the forefront of the next retail revolution.
Spark Plug podcast co-hosts Ned Hayes and Karen Jensen recently talked with Joe Jensen, Vice President of the Internet of Things Group at Intel, to discuss the future of in-store retail. A 36-year Intel veteran, Mr. Jensen has spent the last decade leading the team responsible for helping retailers use Intel’s technology. The complete interview is now posted on the Spark Plug podcast, available at SparkPlug.audio.
As Jensen explains, retailers have experienced an enormous amount of pressure to keep up with evolving consumer expectations around the technological changes in the shopping experience. Many retailers feel a sense of urgency to stay technologically relevant, but they also often lack the financial resources to be competitive in tech.
Jensen explains, “We see a lot of players who are still trapped in the cycle of ‘I gotta spend one-and-a-half percent of my revenue on IT, and I can’t possibly compete… How do I do it? I have no money.” He says the better questions to ask are: When do you think you need to be in a position to be competitive with these new technologies? When will your set of competitors be delivering that kind of experience?