Touching product, trying on shoes, smelling oranges - all this online. All that seemed to be fantasy yesterday will become reality tomorrow. The issues of whether the consumers ready for such innovations, and how the development of technology will affect offline retail were clarified by the participants of "Digital retail" session. What is hidden behind the black mirror".

According to Nielsen, 47% of retailers rate their digitalization level as average, but by 2022 this figure should reach 85%. At the same time, expectations of business and consumers diverge. Top managers consider subscription delivery, smart assistants and virtual reality to be the most popular technologies. Consumers are waiting for 3D-printers, health tracking with a microchip and drones.

“VR gloves, a virtual fitting room, delivery by drones on the same day is not a fantasy for us, but the near future. But are people ready to interact with AR and VR technologies? Recently, we placed 11 AR-mirrors in Moscow and received a positive response, we will continue testing”, said Julia Nikitina, Managing Director for Digital Marketing and Product of Lamoda Group.

Ekaterina Mikhailova, Head of X5 Retail Group customer base monetization department, in turn, shared the experience of Perekrestok chain experiment that appeared to be not so successful: “We have established AR-navigation in several stores and got an excellent result. But it turned out that the project is difficult to be scaled. To do the same throughout the network, one would have to take pictures of 800 stores. Therefore, we suspended the project and are now studying AI technologies that will allow us to implement it without camera work”.

According to Sergey Lebedev, Director of Public Relations at, consumers are increasingly using AI technologies: “Two years ago, people bought a quarter of the recommended products, now they buy over 50% of them”.

According to statistics, 73% of people are looking for products by photo, although the number of pictures taken on the phone and uploaded for search is insignificant. Today screenshots of bloggers on Instagram are especially popular. Fashion and foodstuff remain the most difficult for online sales. People want to touch, smell, test a product personally.

“They say that offline will die, but I don’t believe it. Consumer habits are changing slowly", - said Tatyana Umryaeva, Director of - "But people increasingly refuse to regularly go to the store, because there is no emotion in it. A person does not want to waste his time, stand in lines, interact with someone. This is where the need arises for an aggregator that will collect a basket from different chains and help to save money through a personalized promo”.

The discussion participants agreed that shopping is, first of all, emotions and impressions. In March, Lamoda opened its first offline store, but this is not a part of the business model, but a space for experimentation, explained Julia Nikitina: “We are studying scenarios: how the audience flows from online to offline and back, how it is searching for goods and making purchases”.

Despite the fact that almost all customer actions are recorded and turn into a huge amount of big data, retail has something to work on. According to Andrei Bivetsky, Managing Director of SAP Labs, there’s no easy way to combine business metrics with experience data today: “The topic of customer experience and loyalty is a key topic for retail in the coming years”.