What Will the Retail Industry Look Like in 2030?

What Will the Retail Industry Look Like in 2030?

The retail landscape is changing.

Industry experts have spent plenty of time discussing what this means, and how this will all play out in the next few years. The question is, what do consumers actually want to see? More importantly, what do we expect to see on the high street in less than 10 years from now?

Technology is accelerating change at an exponential rate. Experts predict smaller retailers will start to close, reducing consumer options and drive more people online. After all, 2020 featured a global pandemic, an economic spiral in the United Kingdom, as well as a massive wave of store closures and industry bankruptcies defining much of the shopping landscape within the world of retail.

To see how retail has evolved previously over the last 10 years, click here.

Although, when thinking of 2030, much progress will have been made. The role of the physical store will still be important despite the rise of online retail. So, stores must differentiate themselves from online retail.

Brick-and-mortar retailing will no longer be primarily designed to sell products as consumers are increasingly looking for experiences as much as shopping. Stores need a fundamental re-think to completely transform the shopping experience and change the market in the same way the internet did.

Growing omnichannel needs in-store are cited as being the number 1 in-store labour challenge to modernise the 21st century shopping experience. The store experience needs to be re-imagined when delivering to a consumer who will be in need for new concepts for physical and online stores, further promoting customer loyalty overall.

Big Data is Central to Predicting Consumer Needs

The impact big data has for retailers allows companies to create customer recommendations based on their purchase history, resulting in personalised shopping experiences, as well as forecasting trends and making strategic decisions based on market analysis.

Retailers are increasingly using big data to learn about consumers. For example, UK retailer Missguided uses big data to understand the quantity of clothes that they need to produce by utilising data on the level of interaction they see on their current site.

This ensures the retailer only manufactures the number of garments that they would sell, allowing them to reduce the number of unsold items, reducing waste, improving their environmental impact, and keeps profit margins as high as possible.

Big Data enables companies to generate a 360-degree view of their customers. To read more about how big data benefits businesses, click here.

By 2030

By 2030, technology will affect a third of tasks in UK retail. Many businesses have already adopted new services and technologies, and small businesses have been forced to develop digital platforms. So, what will retail look like in 2030?

We have rounded our future predictions below.

Digital Technology

Despite the rapid shift towards ecommerce, physical stores will be reimagined via digital technology.

The omnichannel consumer on average spends more than a single-channel shopper, encouraging a need for retailers to invest in blending platforms in-store. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are more tech savvy than older generations, as they’ve grown into the digital age with devices that always provide all round digital access. As a result, individuals are constantly pushing the boundaries of what they expect and what they’re willing to share with companies and brands.

As these generations age, their buying power will increase. Retailers need to increasingly cater to their audiences’ digitally driven shopping habits to stay ahead of competition.

The purpose of brick-and-mortar retailing will shift from transactional to primarily focusing on service and experience, as either showrooms, marketing platforms, loyalty building environments and brand experiences.

At its core, omnichannel retailing is predicated upon three foundations:

  • Cloud Commerce
  • Real Time Data Capture & Applications
  • Location and Context Analytics

The best way for a customer to perceive everything is to allow them to intentionally own their data & experience. By using retail data analytics to interpret online & instore shopping patterns, retailers can keep track & stay ahead of the shopper trends and can deliver the unique brand experiences that become their unique selling proposition, to better stand out from competitors.

At Data Clarity, we have worked with retailers like Paul Smith to develop ClarityOmnivue – a full end-to-end data management and analytics solution that enables retailers to get to know their customers and offer personalised and relevant brand experiences to deliver value.

For more information on how ClarityOmnivue can be of benefit to your business, click here.

Store Fronts Will Become Virtual

Physical stores will be reimagined through digital technology with the use of virtual stores – for example.

Smartphone technology already enables the creation of digital experiences in the physical space – being used to created animated content when aimed at QR codes or links. For example, Sports retailer Adidas trialed a store window in Nuremberg that allowed consumers to interact with products and place orders using their mobile devices.

By 2030, store windows will be used in conjunction with smartphone devices to create animated and curated visual output, as well as leasable space to generate more income. Visual content will vary depending on shoppers’ preferences and behaviours, and even time of day.

Smart Supply Chains

Companies have already embraced social and digital platforms to reach new customers, and the way in which businesses approach supply chain software has evolved in line with this. For the future, supply chains need to be increasingly agile to quickly adapt to unseen peaks and troughs in demand. They need to be data driven, accurate and readily available to drive insights and decisions.

To ensure maximum value from every sale, retailers need their supply chain models to deliver real time data. Smart supply chains applying AI to predict demand and calculate supply will result in a direct benefit to the environment by 2030, since today’s integrated systems result in huge amounts of waste due to difficulty predicting what consumers want and when.

Entire value chains in 2030 will be adjusted to accurate predictive models of shoppers needs and will move to suppliers with value chains more responsive to consumer behaviour.

Data and AI will predict stock requirements, resulting in the limitation of wastage and reducing the impact on the environment, and by 2030, retail in developed marketing will have environmental issues embedded in the industry.

Understanding Customer Emotions

Retailers need to invest in technology that enables them to build emotional connections with consumers. Gartner predicted that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions in retail will be managed by AI.

Emotionally connected buyers will be more valuable than highly satisfied ones by 2030, and companies that can master emotional connections in a digital era, will rise above.

Seamless Shopping

This is the process of engaging people in a meaningful experience. Here are “the three C’s” that will drive the future of seamless shopping:

  • Context: The setting, environment, or event in which the customer participates.
  • Content: Data and information that supports the product, provides personalisation, and drives the business model.
  • Commerce: A transaction involving the exchange of value, usually financial.

People want to engage with businesses as seamlessly as possible. They want products, services, and economic transactions around them to conveniently fit into how they’re living. Consumers will have seamless shopping experiences through social platforms by 2030, shrinking the time waiting for customer service queries with smart chatbots and bringing highly personalised experiences through user-generated content.

Consumers are increasingly using social media to engage with brands across the entire customer journey, from discovering new brands and products, to writing comments and reviews. By providing customers with personalised experiences, brands will push consumers to move from offline to online.

Inarguably, COVID19 helped propel online retail towards true omnichannel social commerce – a decade earlier, and discrete sales channels will have dissolved.

Highly immersive retail experiences will soon enough be provided by virtual and augmented reality.

Virtual reality is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment, whereas augmented reality in retail produces an interactive experience through a mobile device. These types of technology are rapidly changing the retail industry. Between the two, they create an immersive experience that promotes consumer engagement.

Loyalty Rewards

Since 2020, 95% of consumers want to engage with their loyalty program using emerging technology like chatbots, AI, VR, and smart devices.

Loyalty programs are an often-overlooked aspect of customer experience, although, they can be vital in building relationships and loyalty with customers.

The rise of the digital technology online is giving consumers access to unprecedented numbers of brands, products, and choices. As the number of options increases, brands must work harder to retain customers and brand loyalty. Even adding a loyalty program to an ecommerce platform can increase average order quantity by 319%.

Today, retailers have been investing in ways to retain customers and provide loyalty from discounts to partnerships with third party players. Overall, 50% of consumers say their primary reason for joining a loyalty program is to earn rewards on everyday purchases, creating the expectation that brand loyalty comes with rewards.

As a result, retailers will roll out more customer loyalty programs, including ‘VIP members clubs’ – who spend a certain amount each year. As well as more partnerships between retailers and other non-retail companies will be incorporated into reward programs.


Retailers are constantly looking for the competitive edge and better ways to reach customers, more efficient customer journeys and opportunities to proactively meet customer needs.

At Data Clarity, we are on top of the challenges and opportunities this presents for retailers. To discover how you can do more as a business, contact us today.

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