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Buying Local Will Beat Online Shopping in 5 Years, Says IBM

This year's IBM 5 in 5 explores the idea that everything will learn – driven by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way.
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This year's IBM 5 in 5 explores the idea that everything will learn – driven by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way. These innovations are beginning to emerge enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics and learning technologies all coming together, with the appropriate privacy and security considerations, for consumers, citizens, students and patients. Over time these computers will get smarter and more customized through interactions with data, devices and people, helping us take on what may have been seen as unsolvable problems by using all the information that surrounds us and bringing the right insight or suggestion to our fingertips right when it's most needed. A new era in computing will lead to breakthroughs that will amplify human abilities, assist us in making good choices, look out for us and help us navigate our world in powerful new ways.

"We know more now than any other generation at any time has known. And yet, we struggle to keep up with this flood of increasingly complex information, let alone make sense of the meaning that is inherent in the massive amounts of data we are acquiring at ever faster rates," said Dr. Dario Gil, Director, Cognitive Experience Lab, IBM. "By creating technology that is explicitly designed to learn and enhance our cognition we will usher in a new era of progress for both individuals and for society at large."

The IBM 5 in 5 is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM's Research labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.

Buying local will beat online Shopping online is a national past time.  Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide for the first time last year, and are growing faster than in-store sales.

Online stores currently have an advantage in their ability to learn from the choices we make on the web. Today, most physical stores are limited to the insights they can gain at the point of sale – and the trend of showrooming is making it harder to compete with online retailers who compete solely on price.

In five years, new innovations 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.

In five years, retailers could rely on Watson-like technologies to equip sales associates to be expert 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.

As mobile devices supported by cloud computing enable individuals to share what makes them tick, their health or nutritional needs, virtual closets and social networks, retailers will soon be able to anticipate with incredible accuracy the products a shopper most wants and needs. As a result, stores will transform into immersive destinations with experiences customized for each individual.

And given their proximity and multiple footprints, stores will be able to offer shoppers a variety of fast pick-up or delivery options, wherever the customer is. Two-day shipping will feel like snail mail.




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