How The Shopping Experience Will Change in 2018

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Expect more shopper amenities, store robots, voice based purchasing and greater ease. Look out for the buzz words, experiential, augmented, virtual reality, Alexa, artificial intelligence, try before you buy, personalization and more.

Retail experts weigh in on what to expect in 2018:

Technology keeps updating the experience:
Whether it is online, or in store, consumers want an all encompassing delightful experience. Technologies like virtual reality are feeding up to that demand.
"Shopping at Lowe's these days brings tears of joy to my DIY eyes," says Robin Raskin, founder and president of Living in Digital Times, which produces events and conferences like the High-Tech Retailing Conference. "Where I used to spend hours on a scavenger hunt for Gorilla Glue, I now search for it on my Lowe's app, find out how many are left in the store, and even know which aisle and bay to go to when I get there. Some Lowe's test stores feature robots that will actually walk you to the right aisle in the store."

In the coming year virtual reality will take the place of the tedious human process, for example in makeup stores. A VR mirror will let you try on different shades, see how it works with your coloring and than order it to your home. YouCam is a great try for this. Or in stores like Sephora.

Alibaba as well is offering an innovative complete VR shopping experience.

Voice Based Shopping is Fast Gaining Popularity.
Amazon is on track to top their sales records with Alexa ordering, and educated shoppers are fast catching on to this basic convenience. Amazon offers special markdowns on Alexa ordered basics, to further attract consumers. "Twenty percent of consumers are already reporting that they have made a voice-based purchase. Others are coming on board, like Target and Walmart with Google Express to enable voice purchases and home delivery." says Krista Fabregas, a retail analyst with

Experience is Everything:

Expect the process to get even more hands on, and seamless as time marches on. "This is why Apple stores work so well — they removed the friction point," says Bob D'Loren, chairman and CEO of Xcel Brands, a brand management and media company. Consumers want an uncomplicated process, where they can try out new products that are out, on the table