The future of retail

In preparation for the upcoming New Year, here at Global Display we decided to have a look at what 2017 might have in store for us in the retail industry.


The technology revolution in retail is NOW – technology is changing the way we shop by re-defining the store environment:

-     With 3d printing customers can create their own unique product, pushing customisation to its peak.
-    Virtual reality can provide recommendations and display product based on customer preferences.
-      Mobile payment eliminates the need for tills, reducing queues and freeing up floor space for more displays or merchandise.


Customers are demanding products and services that match their specific needs, in other words, the customer is now in charge.
Companies like Converse have long offered products that you can tailor to your personal taste, and Topshop last year launched a partnership with 3D printing platform WonderLuk to sell a range of 3D printed accessories for Christmas. Customers had the opportunity to customise products, and these items could either be collected in store or shipped to their home.


Eventually retailers hope to be able to print items out physically in store, blowing customisation up in a whole new dimension. In the future customers will become part of the creation process, they will be able to customise and personalise their own product digitally in store and take them away there and then, or after a couple of hours.
3D printing helps to react even quicker to consumer trends, to make products there and then, and to give customers the ultimate freedom of creation and power to co-design.

Co-designing and visualising a product will also be helped by holograms and virtual reality. Holograms are coming to the high street, some used to advertise, some will have the ability to interact, show information or show am items you are personalising instantly.



John Lewis has been investing in virtual reality for their interior design department as part of the store’s tech accelerator programme.
A virtual reality technology, created by DigitalBridge, allows the consumers to bridge the “imagination gap”, which can occur when the consumers delay or decide against purchases because they cannot visualise how something will look in their home. Therefore, there is a significant commercial benefit to developing this technology for the retail sector.

This virtual design tool can be integrated into a retailer’s own website, or in the store itself, allowing customers to place products within an image of their own rooms, thus giving them a chance to review purchases before making a decision.



Lastly, technology will change the way you shop by eliminating the need for tills with mobile payments. Amazon has opened a store in Seattle that has no checkouts, nowhere to pay, and hardly any staff. Instead it is full of tech with thousands of sensors and cameras tracking the products you’re buying.

Amazon Go sells prepared foods and various grocery essentials, everyone who visits needs the Amazon Go app on their mobile to scan a QR code when they walk in on a futuristic turnstile.

Everything added to your bag is automatically added to your cart and the system will even know whether you put something back. When you’re done shopping, you can simply walk out of the store! The store will automatically charge the credit card on your Amazon account and send a receipt to your phone.


The store is currently opened to only Amazon staff, but is set to open to the public in Seattle in early 2017. Amazon reportedly has huge ambitions for 2000 Go stores to spread across America and maybe the world. Go seem to take innovation to the next level, completely scrapping the need to pay, and need to employ people to deal with payments.


The physical store isn’t going away, but it is changing as retailers need to provide consumers with personalised, data-driven services and experiences – not just products.