According to new white paper.

Retail must become more personalised, interactive and omni-channel by 2020, according to the findings of a new white paper, titled Future Trends in Consumer Behaviour, developed by global payment solutions firm, Acapture. The report explores the preferences of the youngest and largest set of digital native consumers – millennials and generation Z.

Both consumer groups were born or raised with constant internet connectivity, and are competent cross-border online shoppers. The research has revealed, however, generation Z consumers value face-to-face interaction as much as digital, and prefer to combine all platforms and channels, from mobiles, wearables and in-store experiences. Over half choose to communicate in-person despite their flawless use of connected technology, and over two thirds prefer to shop in-store.

Acapture COO, Gijs op de Weegh said, “We are witnessing full-circle consumer behavior. While millennials prefer to communicate entirely online, our youngest generation is returning to traditional shopping channels, preferring real-life interactions and developing their interpersonal skills.”

This renewed focus on offline experiences will be very important to retailers when planning for the future. Gen Z appreciates quality and brand ethics over price, and expects personalized interactions. This research has shown that omni-channel is certainly more than just a buzzword, so that should be the primary focus for merchants, today.

The research has revealed that 40% of consumers will make an additional purchase when they visit a store for a click and collect order. So, click and collect remains one of the most efficient means for a merchant to unite their online and offline channels, and increase their conversion rates. Physical presence provides an opportunity to build a memorable face-to-face service, gives consumers an added layer of convenience, and facilitates 360 degrees brand experience.

The report continues to explain that, for retailers to offer personalized, interactive experiences, the answer is data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Intelligent data analysis can be used to forecast future trends, probabilities and buying habits, to allow for targeted marketing. Businesses are utilizing data science as their core means for innovation, production, customer centricity and growth.