Shoppers Want Human Interaction
The future of retail will involve more human interactions, according to Peter Merholz, president of consulting firm Adaptive Path. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Merholz noted that farmers markets and food trucks are on the rise and self-checkouts are on the decline because consumers crave some human connection "that enable low-key, face-to-face interactions with merchants" and that provide more personal qualities.
"For the longest time, retail used technology as a way to automate or make more efficient the interactions between buyer and seller, typically at the cost of any connection or relationship between the two," Merholz noted. "The technologies that are succeeding don't supplant people or make them more efficient but instead ease transactions and encourage something that can never be replaced by machines — the conversational interaction between people.