Retail Experiences to Change Forever as 5G Blurs Line between Online and Offline Shopping


Over the past few years, the retail industry has been undergoing a major transformation. 5G’s impact on the industry is expected to take things even further. If a recent report is to be believed, five years down the line, 5G will cover 65% of the global population. Therefore, the retailers should brace themselves up for a major transformation — in ways they might not yet expect.

An exciting use case of 5G will be an Augmented Reality powered shopping experience. Very soon, shoppers will just have to hold their smartphone over a product to get more information or to read user reviews. Another interesting feature will be AR “magic mirror,” which will allow customers to virtually try on make-up, clothes, or any wearable product. Customers would be able to try on several looks within seconds as the “magic” mirror scans their body and applies virtual make-up/ clothes on their mirror image.

5G would enable faster connections and reduced latency. As a result, brick-and-mortar retail stores would be able to introduce new features in their establishments, including digital price tags and smart digital displays. When a customer would enter their store, smart digital displays would be able to update their content based on the person’s last online order, thus providing a personalized shopping experience like never before.

The next-gen technology would drastically change the in-store purchasing experience. There would soon be smart shelves in stores, which would be able to give instant visibility into merchandise availability. Using built-in weight sensors that notify a back-end system, smart shelves would be able to tell if there’s a change in the number of items on a particular shelf.

Even in warehouses, 5G and IoT together would help streamline workflows. Thanks to the super-fast network, there would be cable-less connectivity for industrial robots as they receive commands and software updates from the cloud.

Nothing annoys customers like long checkout lines. According to a report, 75% of businesses reported losing customers because of long waiting times. The good news is that long checkout lines will soon be a thing of the past with 5G. Customers would be able to scan labels with their smartphones to pay for items instantly. Shopping carts would be smart enough to monitor items shoppers put into or take out of their carts, charging them afterward.

The customers wouldn’t be the only ones to benefit from the super-fast 5G network. It will reach every step in the supply chain by enabling real-time visibility when paired with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Overall, it can be said that the invisible, seamless connection between digital and physical retail businesses powered by 5G will bring forth several interesting opportunities that will change our shopping experience forever.