5G is a game-changer. Network speeds alone will change the way people use their phones, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg: the possibilities for integrating connected devices in all areas of our lives could drastically alter the tech landscape in the not-too-distant future. So what does that mean for a retail marketer? What can we realistically expect to happen? We asked a handful of our own Sandbox retail experts the following question:
In what ways do you predict 5G will change the retail customer experience, today and in the future?
Here’s what they had to say:
David Kuchta, Integrated Channels Strategist
We already see that consumers are looking for their overall shopping experience to be fast, relevant and
personalized. I believe the introduction of 5G will only continue to drive that trend. With the ability to tap into IoT data, social content or user profiles, consumers are going to expect a highly curated and seamless experience
immediately. Gone are the days of marketing to a particular demographic, instead, with 5G, the experience needs to
meet the shopper at their specific point in their unique journey.
Chris Brulatour, Director, Strategic Planning
Technology of the future, doesn’t necessarily mean that customer service and the personal connection that actually
drives us as humans will be lost in the physical store experience. In fact, if utilized intelligently and creatively, 5G
technology could mean “back to the future” for shoppers. 5G is going to enable retailers to deploy immersive digital
signage and augmented reality that will customize shopping experiences and keep up with our ever-increasing,
digitally-driven demands for rich content wherever and whenever we desire.
More digital-age interactions mean more customer data for retailers to operationalize. Thanks to 5G, it will become
more commonplace to walk into a store and find that the salespeople can immediately create a tailored and predictive
experience. That’s a huge leap from a digital ad pushed to your phone. And the move from content consumption to
real-time responsive installations will transform virtually every category, from ‘quick try’ VR fitting rooms to the ability to plan a connected home to fit your real life. 5G will translate to effectively engaging shoppers before they even enter a brick-and-mortar store and well after they leave.
Jake Leeman, Senior Technical Strategist
5G means more than just speed, it means power. Power for the retailer. Power for the consumer. When the chains of
bandwidth, latency, and performance are unfettered, it means that retail spaces can be transformed into experiential
destinations without the concerns that current limitations bring. It means that the virtual doorway to the retail experience for consumers is unlocked instantly, and expansively. Get what you want, when you want it, immediately.
Too often I find myself frustrated with slow WiFi in-store or in my home, or even worse: slow speeds through my
standard cellular connection. It has impeded my participation in in-store experiences, comparison retail shopping, and
even killed the purchase impulse spark when trying to access an online retailer from home. Imagine the power in being
able to truly capture the impulse, instantaneously. The only thing scared of the amazing potential of this upcoming
revolution? My bank account.
Cassie D’Arpino, Account Supervisor
5G may very well be the conduit for launching consumers into a “post smartphone” era. With the proliferation of
autonomous cars, connected homes, and smart cities – suddenly, “mobile” technology will be everywhere, making
smartphones just one part to a larger sum, rather than the sum of all parts. This will impact the way consumers
research goods, shop, and engage with brands online, thereby evolving (yet again) the path-to-purchase and shopper
journey. I foresee more potential touchpoints – not less – which may very well contribute to increased “marketing
fatigue” from consumers. This shift will likely be a slow roll rather than an instantaneous one. However, marketers need to strategize now for a world where the smartphone is no longer the end-all-be-all for connectivity and engagement.
Sandbox is an independent, full-service agency united by the collaborative ethos of “Creating Better, Together.” Sandbox operates from six locations across the United States and Canada and its roster of clients includes some of the most respected names in human and animal healthcare, agriculture, technology, financial services, travel, retail, and consumer products.