What will the stores of the future look like?

It's fun to imagine what the stores of the future will look like. But as technology advances we can do more than imagine.

It's fun to imagine what the stores of the future will look like. As technology advances we can do more than we imagine. We can start to make educated predictions about the future.

It is clear to anyone who has examined the relationship between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers that something has to change in the industry. Specifically, physical stores need to take significant steps to attract customers who might otherwise be drawn to the allure and convenience of shopping online via computers, smartphones or tablets.

A recent article on Digital Signage Today offers one example of a futuristic store prototype. Contributor Tanya Williams suggests omnichannel marketing. She defines this as creating "an environment that will completely immerse the shopper and give them a seamless experience between both offline and online channels."

For example, video walls in the stores of tomorrow will be used to not only advertise content, but to also display more information about specific items when requested. This technology will ideally work seamlessly alongside mobile apps downloaded onto a customer's smart phone, allowing them to browse through a store's complete inventory on their own device while they walk through the store. Such an approach would combine the best aspects of online shopping (convenience and wide selection) and in-person shopping (the ability to examine an item up close).

Retailers will want to invest in AV splitters and other tools that will allow them to maximize their impact of their digital signage content soon so they can prepare for these coming changes in the future.