Sustainability, convenience and customer experience will reshape the retail market as automation and augmented reality take over, reveals CBRE in its new future of retail report.
30 Predictions for 2030: The future of retail in Australia finds that the rate of change in the retail sector will accelerate to meet technological change and consumer demands.
“By 2030, consumers will prioritise environmentally sustainable products and retailers. The automation of appliances and growth of in-home assistants and technology will mean that buying many products will be a completely automated process. And time saving retail services will cater to specific customer needs,” says CBRE’s head of retail research in Australia, Kate Bailey.
On the sustainability front, expect zero-plastic packaging for delivery and returns processes, the use of efficient delivery algorithms and more information on the source, ingredients and journey of a product.
“The sharing economy will also boom as consumers look to recycle and reuse high quality products rather than making short-term, poor quality purchases that end up in landfill,” Bailey explains.
Purchasing products such as groceries, personal care products and basic apparel will be a completely automated process. When customers do venture in store, experience will be vital to a retailer’s success.
“Augmented reality will enhance the physical buying experience and retailers will engage with customers through unique instore experiences,” Bailey says.
“Stores will sell less but invest large sums in experiences. Customer loyalty will be key,” she adds.
Big data analytics will track customer behaviours, enabling retailers to better engage with customers through tailored promotions, loyalty programs and rewards.
Shopping centres will become the new main streets, fostering community and social interaction. Centre footprints will shrink in response to growth in ecommerce, but will accommodate more non-retail uses, like community facilities, co-working spaces and last mile collection facilities, children’s place centres, gyms and cinemas.
Smaller apartments with less kitchen space, longer working hours and the convenience of online grocery shopping will drive growth in dining out. Meanwhile, UBS estimates global food-delivery sales will grow tenfold by 2030, the report says.
“Courier services will be much more technologically advanced to allow delivery of all products at a specific time and place and virtual stores will allow the physical browsing experience but without the need to carry products after purchase,” Bailey adds.