15 Trends & Topics Shaping Retail in 2020

15 Trends & Topics Shaping Retail in 2020


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1. New retail – the hybrid between the physical and digital experience

It is not about online versus offline but about combining the best of both worlds. An example is the Alibaba Fashion AI Pilot Store: Customers are automatically identifies when entering the store. Products are recommended according to your profile and preferences like in online stores. Purchases are automatically paid while leaving the store, for example with facial recognition.

2. Interactive fitting rooms

The fitting room is the place where most of the purchasing decision are done.
Therefore, it is a spot that should receive a high attention in the customer journey. Digitized fitting rooms are equipped with interactive screens and mirrors where you receive recommendations, can try fashion virtually with augmented reality and get information on available sizes and assortments.


3. Staffless Stores

Headcount is one of the biggest cost factor in stores, supplemented with another problem, that qualified personnel is becoming increasingly rare.
Digital technologies allow reducing required personnel but it will not be able to substitute workforce within the next few years. The checkout process is already digitized and automated, but people will still be responsible for in-store logistics, for example.

4. Instore data

Big data and analytics will also get more and more important in stores. Data will not only be collected at the point of sale but also about all people’s interaction in the store.

5. New payment technologies will establish

Non-cash payment technology are well established. However, people in countries like Germany still prefer to pay with cash. In 2019, around half of retail sales in Germany is still made in cash. (Do not ask me why). In the coming years, cash will definitely decrease due to new payment technologies such as mobile payment like Google Pay or Apple Pay, the younger generation and mobile self-checkout.

Img Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

6. Retailtainment - Stores for entertainment

People will visit stores not only for fulfilling a requirement but for getting entertained. Experiences are getting more and more important. People go shopping for spending their time, so news concepts are required for stores: Shows, socializing and fun.
Physical stores will also get a more important role to experience brands.

7. Event shopping

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles Days have broken all records in 2019. This trend will continue and will bring billions of dollars. Customers are lured to stores and online shops with specially created shopping days and discount campaigns.

8. Last mile

The "Last Mile" is a regular guest on trend lists. The goal for logistics solution to reduce delivery time and costs is high but the technology breakthrough is still pending. There are many concepts with drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, etc. but traditional delivery services like DHL are still delivering our packages like 10 years ago. Research and development will go on.

Img Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

9. Speed shopping – Shop without a shop

People would like to shop as fast and as simple. The solution will be “Shop without a shop”. There will be lots of new approaches like shop directly from social media like Instagram or Youtube, Chatbots, voice commerce, visual searches …

10. In-car, in-house and in-fridge delivery

Another way of speed shopping is autonomous shopping, so that items are delivered automatically when they ran out.
In-fridge, in-car and in-house delivery is when merchants directly delivery into people’s car, household and appliances not matter if automatically or manually ordered.

11. Influencer Marketing

Marketing in retail will change. Traditional marketing has a high spreading loss. The competition for rankings and views in social media and search engines is increasing and so the prices do. Influencers on Instagram and Youtube are getting more and important for advertising products and services. The key questions will be – Who is the right influencer and who is really an influencer?

12. VR and AR

Virtual reality and augmented reality are present in the recent years but there was a lack in great use cases which deliver a customer benefit and at the same time are economically. This is changing now. Sectors such as fashion, furniture and interior will benefit.

Img Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

13. Will Amazon become vulnerable?

We have seen many stories that cast a cloud over Amazon ecommerce business, for instance: Many strikes in logistics centers; negative press about how the treat employees; problems with counterfeit products; Asian companies abusing the rating system that other traders are being blocked; Nike stopped selling via Amazon’s marketplace …
Even Jeff Bezos already has the end of his group in sight. Amazon is still a very strong company that will deliver many more packages to us. But as we know: Disruption is always possible.

14. The rise of Asian companies

Chinese applications such as Alipay or Wechat are a few steps ahead as the Chinese population is much more open to new technologies and less concerned about privacy and personal protection.
China's retail giant Alibaba is entering the European market gunning for Amazon. In 2019 AliExpress opened its first European physical store in Madrid. So we should keep an eye this, there may be other activities to come.

15. Sustainability and responsible consumption

The last one but most important will be sustainability. Our footprint is increasing with every purchase we make. Sustainable and responsible solutions like fair trade, zero waste, circular economy and CO2 reduction is getting more crucial in buying decisions. Awareness is rising and so transparency will play a significant role. Consumers would like to know where goods are coming from and would like to avoid the exploitation of people and the nature.

Author: Maria Tagwerker-Sturm

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