What Will the Retail Industry Look Like in 2030?

What Will the Retail Industry Look Like in 2030?

The retail landscape is changing, so what are the predictions for the industry by 2030? 

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 customers actually want to see? More importantly, what do we expect to see on the high street in less than 10 years from now?

The rapid acceleration of technology is driving significant changes. Established retailers are in turmoil, narrowing customer choices, and pushing a larger population towards online platforms. Over the past few years, a global pandemic, economic downturn in the UK, and a substantial wave of store closures and industry bankruptcies have profoundly shaped the retail landscape.

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

While envisioning the retail landscape in 2030, considerable advancements are expected. Despite the ascendancy of online retail, the significance of physical stores will endure. Therefore, stores must carve out distinct identities to set themselves apart from the online retail sphere.

Brick-and-mortar retailing will no longer be primarily designed to sell products as customers 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 customer who will be in need for new concepts for physical and online stores, further promoting customer loyalty overall.

Anticipating Customer Needs in the Retail Industry 

In the retail sector, big data plays a pivotal role, enabling businesses to craft personalised customer recommendations rooted in purchase history. This fosters tailored shopping experiences and empowers retailers to forecast trends and make strategic decisions through thorough market analysis. The integration of big data allows retailers to gain deeper insights into consumer behaviour, aiding in the optimisation of manufacturing processes. By producing an inventory aligned with actual demand, retailers minimise unsold items, reduce waste, enhance environmental sustainability, and maintain optimal profit margins.

Leveraging big data empowers businesses to obtain a comprehensive 360-degree perspective of their customers. Discover the business benefits here.

The Retail Industry by 2030: Future Predictions

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 industry 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 customers 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.

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 customers 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.

AI is Re-shaping Retail through Enhanced Customer Connections

This modern retail landscape, where consumer behaviours are rapidly changing, agility is crucial. Consumers are now navigating multiple touchpoints with retailers, expecting seamless journeys between each channel. This necessitates a holistic approach, emphasising an omnichannel experience driven by AI. As retailers strive to transform both physical and online shopping experiences, AI becomes instrumental in retaining existing clientele and expanding market reach.

AI serves as a cornerstone for many retail customer retention strategies, allowing brands to interact with customers in organic and personalised ways. Building strong customer loyalty and promoting retention are achievable through AI’s capabilities, which effectively engage audiences to drive revenue creation opportunities. Moreover, AI contributes to cost reduction, supply chain optimisation as mentioned, and increased customer satisfaction, making it a strategic asset for retail operations.

The exponential growth forecast in AI services for the retail sector—from $5 billion to over $31 billion by 2028—underscores its indispensable role in shaping the retail landscape by 2030. As technology continues to evolve, embracing AI becomes not just a choice but a necessity for retailers aiming to thrive in the dynamic and competitive retail landscape.

Seamless Shopping

This is the process of engaging people in a meaningful experience. Below, 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. Customers 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.

Customers 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 customers 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 customer engagement.

Loyalty Rewards

Since 2020, there has been a significant shift in customer preferences, with 95% expressing a desire to interact with their loyalty programs using cutting-edge technologies such as chatbots, AI, VR, and smart devices. Despite their potential impact, loyalty programs are often underestimated in the realm of customer experience. Nevertheless, they play a crucial role in establishing and nurturing relationships with customers.

The surge of digital technology in the online space has granted customers unprecedented access to a multitude of brands, products, and choices. With the expanding array of options, brands face the challenge of intensifying their efforts to retain customers and foster brand loyalty.

In response to this dynamic landscape, retailers are proactively investing in strategies to retain customers, ranging from offering discounts to establishing partnerships with third-party entities. This effort is translating into the development and implementation of more customer loyalty programs. Among these initiatives are the introduction of ‘VIP members clubs,’ catering to those who consistently spend a specified amount each year. As well as more partnerships between retailers and other non-retail companies will be incorporated into reward programs.

The evolving retail environment underscores the importance of adapting and innovating in the realm of customer loyalty. As retailers continue to explore inventive approaches, the integration of advanced technologies and strategic partnerships will likely become defining elements in the pursuit of sustained customer loyalty and satisfaction.


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 the retail industry. To discover how you can do more as a business, contact us today.

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