The Future of Retail
Some examples of trends that are expected to shape the global retail space in 10-20 years include technological advancements, new patterns of personal consumption, a structural industry shift, consumer connectivity and changing the face of the consumer.
- Technology will bring a new era of DIY shopping by changing how shoppers access, select and pay for their goods.
- Interactive mirrors, 24/7 stores with robot-assisted drive-through windows and self-serve retail models will become mainstream by 2030.
- Also, shoppers will be able to research and purchase an item by capturing a picture of it. They will be able to find direct links to a given product wherever they see it, whether on television, in a magazine, or in a newspaper.
- Technology advancements will become a trend since 47% of consumers ranked interactive touchscreen mirrors in the dressing room among the top three most exciting innovations for the future.
NEW PATTERNS OF PERSONAL CONSUMPTION
- Goods and services, together with the experiences that go with them, will be tailored to fit the needs of specific customers rather than broad audiences. Retailers and brands will make this possible by using predictive analytics and thus leading to a greater focus on niche retailers and shopping centers.
- By 2040, retail stores will introduce innovations that replicate the environments where shoppers will use products. For example, "cold zone" to try on winter coats and turf-like surfaces to test out athletic cleats.
- Retailers will also identify customers as they enter the store by employing facial-recognition technology and hence provide them with tailored shopping experiences.
- Providing consumers with tailored shopping experiences as research predicts, will make new patterns of personal consumption a trend.
STRUCTURAL INDUSTRY SHIFT
- In 10-20 years, retailers will increasingly combine their in-store and online operations. This will lead to physical stores serving as venues where shoppers will engage themselves in the brand's experience and experiment with the product before purchasing them.
- Instead of stocking shelves and taking inventory, store employees will be educating shoppers as well as demonstrating products since repetitive tasks in the store will be handled by robots and other forms of automation.
- Structural industry shifts will become a trend because digital engagement plus automation will minimize labor costs for retailers by allowing store associates to focus on value-added activities.
- Some retailers, such as Lowe's in the US, are already experimenting with robots that can help consumers find items in the store and provide DIY advice.
- Retailers will focus on tapping into consumer desires by delivering genuine brand experiences to build both trust and loyalty and increase consumer connectivity.
- Research shows that consumer connectivity will become a trend since 55% of consumers are excited about blended in-store and entertaining experiences.
- Brick-and-mortar stores are a perfect example of businesses that are focusing on delivering genuine brand experiences in the future.
- By enrolling technology and data, retailers will be able to predict consumers' buying behavior with unprecedented accuracy. Purchases will also be automated through internet-connected appliances, making physical shopping more of a social and leisure experience.
CHANGING THE FACE OF THE CONSUMER
- By 2030, spending among middle-class consumers will almost triple globally.
- Research shows that the majority of the consumer population will be urban by 2030, considering the rate at which city dwellers are increasing, which stands at 65 million each year.
- Changing the face of the consumer is another emerging trend since the middle class in emerging markets will be substantially bigger .
- A good example is China where their wages will likely increase to approximately 45% of those of the United States, compared to their current 15%.