As physical shopping around the world variously restarts post-lockdown, a number of organisations are, unsurprisingly, asking what the medium and long-term changes for the future of retail may be. While digital shifts are still at the fore for many, others are concerned about trends impacting retail from outside the sector as well as emerging consumer behaviours.
Ahead of a forthcoming workshop, we have collated a number of future trends that have been proposed by several experts in recent months. If you would like to let us know which you think may have greatest impact - and why, as well as what other shifts are missing from the current view, we will update and share a more detailed perspective in the next few weeks.
Future Retail Trends
A Selection of Insights from Multiple Expert Discussions
17 June 2020
This presentation collates several emerging issues that will impact the future of
retail - mixing macro trends with sector changes as well as consumer shifts.
It is designed to stimulate thinking and debate on future opportunities.
• Impacting many areas
• Driving lasting change
• Setting expectations
• Influencing behavior
• Emerging in niches
• Accelerating impact
The size, location and focus for shopping malls is increasingly in flux.
Placemaking becomes a key shared ambition across cities, developers and
communities. Successful execution relies on context and flexibility.
Proof of Immunity
Public concerns about health security override worries about privacy.
Facilitated by digital platforms, governments integrate immunity and health
data with national identities. Access to buildings is based on proven immunity.
Smart Supply Chains
As inventory again becomes an important differentiator, stores embrace
more intelligent supply chains and logistic systems to ensure availability of
the right products, at the right time, in the right place to every customer.
Small, slow-moving, autonomous robots act as an accelerator of automation.
They enable safe, clean, convenient and low-cost delivery and help
to raise public confidence in the wider adoption of unmanned logistics.
Drones for Goods
Investment in timely drone delivery services accelerates their deployment in
multiple locations. Concerns about safety and collisions are overcome with
automated UAV air traffic control as the operational range of drones expands.
Some manufacturing shifts from centralised production to a smaller, distributed,
resilient approach. 3D printing and localised sourcing play a part in enabling
supply of bespoke products and spare parts in several, but not all, sectors
Reclaiming Car Parks
The growth in ‘Mobility as a Service’ and self-driving cars frees up
vast tracts of space for new development. Repurposing car parks
extends retail interaction and experiences beyond existing store footprints.
Post-Covid19 retailers rethink how better to use space. Maximising footfall
targets are replaced by increasing basket value and low-touch interaction.
Cashless payments dominate and staff-to-customer ratios are questioned.
Apple and Samsung are emulated as more brands seek to create interactive
venues where you can try, but not buy, products. Immersive experiences are
designed to engage, excite and educate customers and seed digital purchase.
Automation is progressively embedded within many areas of retail.
While robots providing customer support and stocking shelves are the most
visible, ‘hidden’ tech like facial recognition is changing the customer experience.
As the pace of change for technology and consumer expectations
accelerates, many retailers adopt increasingly flexible format options.
More specific propositions and experiences are tailored to niche markets.
The use of AI expands to enable the ‘seamless’ retail experience.
Deep learning and chatbots are widely deployed: physical and digital
experiences are blurred as machines automatically configure options.
Retailers are challenged to be the most sustainable provider of products.
Validated net zero footprints for carbon and water are transparently shared as
brands seek reduce, reuse and recycle in the the progressively circular economy.
Customers are progressively willing to share their data in exchange for better,
more personal products and experiences. Retail brands compete to access and
analyse information in real-time to tailor interaction, support and pricing.
Millennials and Gen Z form the majority of shoppers and want deeper, more
social experiences. Although digitally informed and researched, interaction
within physical stores with friends is an increasingly preferred option.
Access not Ownership
The ‘lease everything’ business model extends to cover the majority
of products. Tools and equipment join electronic devices, cars and
clothing in being rented for defined periods - and not bought.
Customers are increasingly comfortable interacting with chat-bots.
Many are more open, honest and flexible with machines than human support.
Voice becomes a primary mechanism for frictionless payment.
Rapidly advancing virtual and augmented reality systems go mainstream.
More sectors embrace improved visualisation to envisage, configure and
select new products and solutions in situ – all in advance of purchase.
Accessing and using more emotional data about shoppers is put at
the core of ambitions to deliver greater bespoke tailoring for the individual:
We rapidly move from mass personalisation to individual customisation.