Online retail in 2020: Web glasses, global window shopping and single logins


As the internet celebrates its quarter century anniversary, Rakuten predicts how online retail could evolve over the next decade, including how tomorrow’s shoppers will be able to browse window displays across the globe.

This week, as the internet turns 25 and a new wave of billionaires join the billion dollar dotcom club. Rakuten reveals how it expects online retail to evolve over the next decade opening up vast opportunities for net savvy retail entrepreneurs.

Last year alone travellers to the UK spent in excess of 21 billion. However the days where international retail therapy required an international flight and excess baggage allowance are numbered. In the coming years Rakuten predicts a new generation of shopkeepers will emerge, uninhibited by location or country.

At the touch of a button, via a smart-watch, web glasses, or mobile device, tomorrow’s shoppers will be able to browse virtual window displays around the world – from their local corner shop to a market bazaar 5,000 miles away.

Rakuten also predicts that the multitudes of online web profiles in existence today will be replaced with a single unique and super secure shopping passport. This virtual ID will amalgamate purchases, amasses loyalty points, track orders from multiple vendors and maps suggestions from social networks into one virtual profile, wherever a shopper travels online.

Commenting on the future of online retail Shingo Murakami, MD of Rakuten’s said: “Fuelled by the Internet of Things, retailers will soon understand the shopping journey more completely than ever before. However interpreting and reacting to vast quantities of retail data from various channels will require retailers to unite the traditionally siloed divisions of purchasing, marketing and web development. To thrive retailers must develop a cross-division collaboration culture, one which sees online and offline sales as complementary and intrinsically linked and develops a shopping experience based on these multi-channel findings.”

As Earth’s population surges past 8 billion and internet penetration soars past 34%, the expression ‘it’s a small world’ has never been quite so apt and the potential for international profit should be at the forefront of every retailer’s agenda. As the web speeds towards its third decade, Rakuten expects those retailers that embrace both global and local markets and seek to build tailored customer experiences to be primed for profit.

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