In an age of the technology-powered consumer, retailers who are not prepared to adjust their game plans and embrace new innovations will be left in the dust.

In an age of the technology-powered consumer, retailers who are not prepared to adjust their game plans and embrace new innovations will be left in the dust.

Both brick-and-mortar and digital shopping continue to evolve, creating new challenges for retailers to understand how to reach customers, develop positive shopping experiences and drive traffic, says Chris Rockwell, the founder and CEO of Lextant.

"The future of retail is not so much about products and services as it is about experiences," he says.

Rockwell's company calls itself a "human experience firm," using "immersive research" to help retailers understand how and why their customers shop, so businesses can adjust and design that shopping experience in ways that improve the bottom line.

"We work closely with design function for retailers and help them understand who the customer is and how they need to design shopping experiences," he says.

The company's work is focused on understanding consumer experiences, as Rockwell explains in a company website video: "Our lives are comprised of moments that collect into experiences we have every day. Everything Lextant is doing is about making lives better ... through the design of products and services. And those are influenced by the things we surround ourselves with, our technology or the things that we buy."

For instance, Lextant recently analyzed a store's lightbulb aisle to better appreciate how LED lights are changing the way people shop for bulb replacements.

"We will help them understand how to improve the aisle design so shoppers have a better experience," he says.

The Region has a solid retail innovation ecosystem that will continue to evolve, and businesses know that to stay on top they must continue to innovate.

"Columbus is a great hub for this kind of thinking. Retailers know they can't stand still," Rockwell says. "For instance, some new payment technology is being developed here that will afford new ways for transacting business that will make it easier for consumers. Those are the kinds of innovations that are coming."

Rockwell started the company in 2001 and now employs 60 "behavioral scientists and design research specialists," with an office near Columbus Commons and a research facility in Powell where researchers can simulate retail experiences.

"The Region represents a great cross section of demographics and psychographic characteristics of the United States, which is why a lot of companies come here to do research," he says. "This region has long been a center for retail innovation. It's a creative center with a very strong creative force."

Rockwell expects significant changes in the retail arena are looming on the horizon, including a reduction in destination shopping.

"I think we will see retail becoming more omnipresent where shoppers end up shopping whenever and wherever they are," he says. "The markets will continue to change and challenge, but Columbus is situated in a great spot where we can help evolve those retail experiences, and that is key for us moving forward."