IBM predicts: Buying in stores will beat online shopping

Posted at 12/24/2013 1:02 PM | Updated as of 12/26/2013 9:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines – IT giant IBM predicts that shopping in physical stores will beat online shopping in five years.

In its eighth annual “IBM 5 in 5,” IBM said that new innovations in five years “will make buying local du jour once again.”

“Savvy retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that cannot be replicated by online-only retail. They will magnify the digital experience by bringing the web right to where the shopper can physically touch it,” IBM said.

The technology firm recognizes that online sales worldwide are growing faster than in-store sales, but retail shops can soon rely on IBM’s Watson technology to allow sales associates to be experts about every product in the store.

“With technologies such as augmented reality and the recently announced plan to open Watson as an app development platform, IBM is providing shoppers’ with better in-store browsing and buying experiences,” the firm said.

IBM also predicts that mobile devices supported by cloud computing will play a key role in anticipating with incredible accuracy the products a shopper most wants and needs.

This technology will transform stores into “immersive destinations” with customized services for every shopper, IBM said.

IBM added that online shopping may lose ground because of the shipping time, which may take days.

Physical stores, on the other hand, will be able to offer shoppers a variety of fast pick-up or delivery options, wherever the customer is.