The future of shopping is a broad concept but senior executives from Klarna and commercetools hone in on the key trends and technologies that will shape the customer journey in years to come at the eTail Australia, WBR Worldwide event.

Over the last two years, there has been a clear shift toward shopping local – not only out of necessity, but to also support local communities. Some shoppers made a choice to start buying from Australian owned businesses and Australian made products, which is in line with a broader trend of consumers wanting higher quality and more sustainable products that last longer, according to Klarna head of partner success, Rhys Thomas.

“Looking ahead, there are some pieces of technology coming through the pipeline including rapid delivery and VR/AR. With rapid delivery, it’s more of a ‘watch and see’ with the rise of Milk Run, VOLY and Send, which are on the cusp of a mini revolution in grocery shopping. If these companies can normalise the 15-minute delivery window, it will bleed into many other industries including fashion,” he explained.  

“AR/VR is more pertinent right now with the existence of virtual shopping. About six months ago, Klarna acquired a company called Hero which allows you to connect with your shoppers and bridge the gap between online and in-store to create a true omnichannel experience. Retailers that embrace this technology now will have a huge advantage over their competitors.”

Thomas believes virtual shopping can help customers save time as it allows for more personalised engagement with store staff from the comfort of their home. “The technology is still a while away from being more widely adopted but brands need to start trying new things now.”

For cloud-based headless commerce platform, commercetools, personalising the customer experience through access to APIs and other data that can provide a wealth of information and support ongoing optimisation will be key in the future.

“We’re good at personalising the online shopping journey because we know enough about the customer to make product recommendations, but how do you bring that in store and surface that information to store associates so they can have meaningful conversations with customers,” commercetools territory director, Joshua Emblin said.

“Moving to API first and headless commerce breaks down the monolithic application. It provides more freedom and flexibility to experiment. You can make deployments in of those applications without having to tell the rest of the business. It stops being an IT only focus and customers who have adopted headless report that they are doing multiple releases every week, they innovate faster, and A/B testing becomes iterative.”