Predicting the Future of Retail | Speakers from Online Retail Give Their Views on the Future

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By Published On: June 28, 20220 Comments

Everyone wants the ability to predict the future. The advantages of informed foresight would be incomprehensible, especially when structuring decisions based on personal and professional prospects. As a matter of perspective, imagine if retail businesses had been able to prepare themselves for what happened over the last couple of years…

To try and get a glimpse into the future, we asked some of the speakers at the upcoming Online Retailer Conference & Expo about what trends we will see emerge and continue to grow in the retail space. The event which takes place on 20th and 21st July at the ICC in Sydney features the country’s top retailers and top retail experts covering all of the critical subjects affecting retail, including what the future of retail could look like.

The recent Deloitte 2022 Retail Industry Outlook recognised three key trend areas for retail moving forward, namely re-imagining the workforce (voice commerce, staff-free cashiers, selling of digital goods), supply chain resilience and a continued digital revolution, fusing digital and physical experiences. 

And the ability to predict the future and adapt your business strategy to this future is critical for business survival. Rocky Scopelitti, Futurologist, says “What we now know is that organisational success is no longer dependent upon access to scarce resources, markets, or innovation, but rather their capacity to adapt. Against a backdrop of ‘seismic’ technological innovations brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution, business survival will depend on its capacity to adapt to a world of rapidly accelerating change.”

From the Metaverse to increased automation and 3D digital environments to a continued rise in the conscious consumer and greater digital personalisation, these are some of the things that we are going to see emerging and evolving in this brave new world of retail. 

Starting with Rocky again who has identified some major predictions for the future:

The Australia 2030 research sought to understand how Australian professionals felt about predictions about the decade ahead. These relate to a range of technological and scientific developments that will have the greatest impact on innovation and/or disruption to Australia, our personal, professional and family lives and the world over the next 10 years. These predictions have been based on the speed, scale and impact of developments associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution centred on the augmentation of our digital, physical, biological and environmental worlds. The two predictions relevant to the retail industry are:

  • Our digital world becomes decentralised and more widely distributed through increasing our computing capacity, automation, connectivity and speed through technologies such as quantum computing; blockchain; Internet-of-Things and 5G mobile networks.
  • Our physical world becomes intelligent and interactive such as cities becoming smarter, vehicles becoming autonomous and independently coordinated, factories becoming automated and robotic through technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, augmented reality, advanced robotics and material science.”

Priscilla Koukoui, Co-Founder of Power Women NFT reveals that the Metaverse is happening now and retailers are already embracing it. Says Koukoui, “One of the main trends impacting retail is the future of online experiences, as more and more customer experiences will begin to take place in virtual 3D environments that emulate those in the real world.

“Our capacity to challenge normality has been developed during COVID. I think retailers have shown resilience and creativity to still continue to sell, and understand the need to adapt to customer expectation to have a virtual presence online and to think about “phygital” (Physical and digital) experiences.  Gucci has a garden on Roblox. Nikeland is a Nike Metaverse space, where fans can mingle and engage with whole different brand experiences,” she continued.

Emma Lewisham from Lewisham Skincare says about another key trend, the conscious consumer, “I believe that to exist as a business in the 21st century you will be ethically and environmentally held to account, both by consumers and by legislation. Sustainability, including circular economy principles, will no longer be a ‘nice to have’, but a responsibility required of all businesses in order to operate. We will continue to see the rise of the conscious consumer who will be, I believe, an even greater driver for change than legislation.”

Mark Staton, Kmart said about omni-channel retail and a cohesive CX –  “The customer’s expectations will continue to change and will continue to become broader.  Formats will change and truly integrated omni-channel experiences will be far more reflective of the customer’s wants and needs. That’s our big nut to crack.” 

Samantha Law from Aje summed up the key trends saying, “ we will see continued personalisation and relevant automation based on preferences. We’ll continue to see a drive towards social media commerce and AI and the Metaverse are going to further come into play with online retail. Category brand building and aligning the offline and online retail pieces will also be critical.”

To give yourself a sneak peek into the future and learn about how to ready your business for this new 3.0 world, grab tickets for Online Retailer, where you will be able to hear from these speakers and more.

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