The future of omnichannel retail: A four-stage Delphi study
Omnichannel retail refers to the integration of retail channels like stores, online, and mobile into a single, seamless customer experience. The emergence of new online channels has had a major impact on the retail industry over the past decade, and it is expected that the need to integrate different channels will transform the retail industry over the next decade. We conducted a four-stage Delphi study with eighteen retail experts to identify the key trends, major challenges, important technologies, and main customer touchpoints that will emerge in omnichannel retail in the next ten years. Using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques, we first elicited open-ended predictions from experts, then transformed and consolidated these predictions into close-ended statements, to finally obtain expert ratings of these statements and analyze changes of expert ratings between two consecutive stages. Based on this approach we derived four broad themes of core insights: future competition in the retail industry will be based on holistic customer experiences; omnichannel retail requires the development of human capabilities and changes in the organizational mindset; physical stores will become key destinations for unique sensory shopping experiences; and omnichannel retail will improve operational productivity.