Bain & Co’s Darrell Rigby talks about the future of shopping in HBR. It says: Customers want everything. They want the advantages of digital, such as broad selection, rich product information, and customer reviews and tips. They want the advantages of physical stores, such as personal service, the ability to touch products, and shopping as an event and an experience. Different customer segments will value parts of the shopping experience differently, but all are likely to want perfect integration of the digital and the physical.
Author coins a term Omni Channel retailing that is a combination of information availability on online channels couples with a rich in-store experience. It says that traditional retailers do not innovate and face a threat from online stores. While online stores come with a lot of advantages they miss out on the customer experience. So the future would be a combination of two, where a user can identify the product to buy, find all information about it including the best deal available and then walk into the nearby store to pick it up.
I agree the eventual future is a combination. Right now online and physical stores exist at two ends of the spectrum, each lacking the positives of the other. How the commination will work and would would be a good mix ratio for different retail segments is what we need to watch out for….