Inside Smart Commerce: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar is ‘Store as Media’ – Retail TouchPoints

When we ponder the future of retail, the store is always involved in discussions. In fact, experts and practitioners across the retail spectrum largely agree that the store is a crucial vehicle for customer retention, engagement and loyalty.  
Even once-digital only brands like Warby Parker have doubled down on their store investments. In fact, the eyewear darling plans to open another three dozen locations by end of this year. What will change, though, are the experiences that many consumers will expect, and the role that technology and data will play to support fluid, tech-agnostic experiences in the store and beyond.  

WestRock, a provider of retail packaging and merchandising solutions, is working with a fleet of partners, including DigimarcIntel and VSBLTY, to craft an ecosystem to support this new vision for the store. The premise and experience is called “SmartCommerce” — and it’s powered by connected devices and packaging that activate digital media and advertising moments across the entire product lifecycle — from the warehouse to a customer’s shopping cart.  

The end-to-end vision, which features solutions for supply chain, fulfillment, e-commerce and in-store shopper experience, shows how interconnected the modern shopper journey can be when orchestrated effectively. Powerful integration creates synchrony, which ultimately addresses the needs of “smart,” or digitally connected, consumers, according to Leon Nicholas, VP of Retail Insights & Solutions at WestRock.  
“SmartCommerce shows how we can make the store smarter for the smart shopper, creating a covert experience of the online environment that she’s become hyper used to,” Nicholas said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’re flipping the model on its head and making the store similar to the online experience, creating more opportunities for customization