It’s only fair that I stick my own neck out and make a couple of predictions for the future.
I’m going to focus on the retail experience, as our experts have fully covered the product side of the question.
Again, mobile devices will play the key role. Customers will prowl through stores with their smartphone or tablet device and use the Internet to compare pricing and features in order to get the best deal.
However, I think retailers will counter this by equipping every store-level sales assistant with a tablet. The sales associate can then immediately check to see what is available without having to wait for the department’s only PC terminal to be available. Perhaps some software will be included that will give the associate the ability to bargain on pricing.
I also anticipate stores will carry more inventory as a hedge against Amazon’s ability to carry everything. This may mean cutting back in some less-popular categories, though.
Immediate gratification may be a store’s best defense against online competition, even if the product is priced a bit higher. After all, if someone will pay for overnight shipping, they will pay a bit more to walk away with their purchase