Serial entrepreneur and investor Karim Hijazi has an insider’s perspective on cybersecurity, hacking, and botnets. As CEO of Unveillance, and then director at the company that acquired it, Mandiant, he helped industry protect its intelligence.
Now, as CEO of software development firm Quantomic, he has turned his attention to how the Internet of Things, big data, and virtual reality will change the future of the shopping experience. His newest startup Tagspire, launched earlier this month, seeks to help shoppers share products they love and earn cash incentives when others buy what they recommend.
Hijazi offered Yahoo Small Business readers these four not-so-far-out predictions about what’s coming in retail.
1. A personal shopper in every store. Hijazi says retailers will be able to instantly collect data about customers as they walk through the door via RFID and NFC chips embedded in smartphones. Before a customer even knows what she’s looking for, a shopkeeper will use predictive analytics to guide her shopping experience. ”Big Data coupled with Internet of Things and geo-location capabilities can dramatically change the brick-and-mortar experience in the future,” Hijazi says.
2. Online fitting rooms. Augmented reality and 3D technology will transform online shopping. Peer-to-peer reviews such as video, star ratings, and written posts will still drive sales with authentic advice and recommendations, but 3D holographic technology and augmented reality such as the Oculus Rift will change the e-commerce paradigm, Hijazi predicts.
3. Rewards for referrals. Hijazi says every-day consumers will comprise the next wave of brand ambassadors. YouTube stars who challenge the prominent voices of celebrities and famous influencers are a step in that direction, and Hijazi notes that in consumers in Asia have already embraced transactional features integrated into social media communities in the likes of companies such as WeChat and Alibaba. “Brands know that their own customers are their best promoters, but they will embrace them more than ever once consumers have the incentives to promote more products,” he says.
4. Consumers carrying cash registers. “In the future, people will be able to use their smartphones to scan bar codes and purchase items in retail stores, freeing up more time for sales representatives to attend to customers’ needs beyond transactions,” Hijazi says. “In addition, as the Internet of Things era approaches, shoppers will have more places to transact than ever before, enabling purchases in their homes or on the go, making their cars or kitchens the next shopping mall. This, in turn, means that brands will leverage more devices to market their products to consumers in the long run.”