Technology and innovation are changing the retail landscape. Experts have made many predictions about what the future of retail will be in 2020 here are the highlights:

“Retailpocalypse” will (finally) be behind us
Pieter Lammens is the director of Lafayette Plug and Play, the Paris based European Retail Experts Platform.

“In 2020, retailpocalypse will be behind us: stores will still exist, but their prime function will be customer experience. Tedious tasks, like logistics, will become more and more automated, but we have to keep in mind that the five human senses can only be stimulated in store! And so far no bot or personalization tool has been able to even come close to a good sales assistant.”

Data Exploitation Will Change Everything
“Data exploitation is profoundly changing the way that we do business. This is a great opportunity to reinvent ourselves, and it’s key for every retailer. Personalization will always be an issue to improve the experience of our customers and ensure proximity and advice,” said Amelie Poisson, director of marketing, brand & customer experience at La Redoute, one of the leading companies in e-commerce in France.

In Poissons’ opinion, there are three trends that will shape retail in 2020:

  • The development of responsible consumption. 
  • The “new retail” or hybrid business between physical and digital experience. 
  • New ways of marketing and interacting with the customer.

Agility and efficiency will be more important than ever
Christian Kunz is director of corporate development & co-founder of Lafayette Plug and Play.

“Agility and efficiency across the whole organization will be key for all of these retailers if they wish to thrive in the age of not only Amazon and Alibaba, but also the age of digitally native brands and the marketplaces that can connect with and serve customers in the way they wish to be interacted with.”

“Nonetheless, I believe the big shift will come with respect to the role of stores; they remain the big differentiating factor between traditional retailers and pure players, and the way these retailers utilize them will become central to their success. Rather than being simply a showcase and point of purchase for the brands/retailers’ products, we envision stores also becoming more experiential spaces and even fulfillment centers to create a full omnichannel experience.”

New Immersive Shopping Experiences
Roy Moussa is co-founder of Qopius, a computer vision platform for shelf reality in real-time. His predictions for retail in 2020 are four and focus on using store-level data to improve customer experience:

  • Dynamic planogram based on local store needs. 
  • Location-based services for consumers inside the physical store.
  • Dynamic pricing based on accurate demand forecasting.
  • Immersive shopping experience using image recognition by providing a store-like e-commerce experience.

More Pop-Ups
John Torella, a senior adviser with retail consulting firm J.C. Williams Group, expects we’ll see much pop-up stores that are only open for a limited time. Big-box stores and companies without a location within a particular city can use pop-ups to introduce themselves to that market and test the area’s interest in their products.

Some retailers are taking the concept of a pop-up one step further by opening smaller permanent stores within cities in order to get closer to people, he said. For example Ikea Canada will open its first planned smaller-format store in Toronto within the next two years. The first of this type of Ikea store in Canada, it follows 15 smaller stores already opened in other countries.

Focusing on Convenience
According to a retail trends report for 2019/2020 from BDO, an international accounting firm with more than 100 locations across Canada, one of the biggest challenges for retailers will be defining which niche they want to fit into: convenience or experience?

Grocery stores are at the forefront of optimizing convenience, according to Torella said, with online order and in-store pickup starting to take off. Optimizing how customers move through the store is another thing retailers are working on, with some shopping carts now coming with floor plans or search functions built into them.

Outside of the food world, the biggest hurdle for retailers looking to offer convenience is high-speed shipping. Torella said that as the demand for speedy shipping rises, we could start seeing more businesses offering not just same-day shipping, but “delivery within the hour.”

Open relationships
Winning retailers will build ecosystems by accelerating the use of new sales channels or working with value-adding partners that offer differentiation by supplementing products with relevant services. Gartner has described these as ecosystems that will create “connections between partners, employees and even competitors … built into vibrant networks that can unlock value for all.”

Sustainability is more than just good marketing
Paloma Mas is a venture analyst at Plug and Play, and this is her view on the future of retail:

“Retailers know that adopting circular economy principles and producing in a more sustainable way will help them engage with their existing customers and reach new audiences more concerned about the environment. They should be applying these new technologies that will soon become essential for every player in the industry.”

Source: Retail Wire
Source: Plug and Play
Source: CTV News