Retail in 2040 – will you recognise it?

Euromonitor predicts a fundamental change to the way we consume in 2040, with retail stores looking very different to today.

The report on the future of commerce paints a picture of focused retailers, where convenience stores are likely to be the only shops around with an inventory. “Physical outlets remain a critical part of today’s shopping journey, both in terms of brand engagement or purchase execution and will continue to play a role in 2040, though their functions will evolve,” said Euromonitor’s Michelle Evans.

Former retail outlets will shift to make space for small experience hubs, allowing consumers to discover and test products for a later drone delivery to a designated neighbourhood spot, suggests the report. Evans said the lines between virtual and real will become increasingly blurred as consumers will layer virtual over reality, engaging in gamification opportunities for rewards and fun (think Snapchat specs

In a 2040 retail environment, Euromonitor predicts the retailer will personalise all communication with its customers, with shoppers typically using a separate entrance for picking up orders made online (New Zealand food outlets Eat My Lunch and Poke are experimenting with this already). On entry, facial scanning will identify consumers enabling retailers to provide a more tailored experience and any payment will be automatic upon exit from the store. Consumers will be able to try products in a virtual representation of the final environment where it will be used, with a personal virtual stylist helping consumers to make choices, the report said.

To stay in business, Evans said companies must continue to reinvent themselves. In recent years, brands might have been able to accomplish this through a slick facelift but to embrace the consumers of tomorrow, businesses need to commit to more fundamental, infrastructure changes to remain relevant in 2040, she said.

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