A new generation of kiosks will help bridge the gap between online shopping and the in-store experience, says John Riccio, retail industry leader at IBM. "Consumers have become accustomed to researching their purchases online and being able to check availability, so stores can now seem to be lacking in research resources," he says. "As supermarket operators continue to push into non food retailing, selling clothing, electrical goods, computers and the like, there will be a growing need for kiosks to explain product and potentially order items for later shipment, if they're not immediately available in-store."

Riccio says the convergence of channels requires full integration to provide a seamless customer offer, with shoppers potentially wanting to view and update orders placed at home while they are in the store.