Retail will get faster and smarter this year — particularly physical retail.
That’s according to a new study from Coresight Research, which outlines 10 ways retailers will leverage cutting-edge technology to reinvent themselves in changing times. The report, “10 Retail Trends for 2019: Get Ready for Retail Reinvention,” predicts a promising new start for the retail sector as a whole, but especially for physical stores. Coresight predicts that retailers will reshape brick-and-mortar retail, bringing fresh thinking to operations and reacting to changing consumer demands in new ways.
Here is a brief recap of the report’s 10 trends:
1. Cities will see more spectacular retail
Retailers will follow the example of Walmart and Target and offer refurbished environments and new in-store technology in a generation of urban flagships.
2. ‘Fast retail’ will have shorter leases, more shared spaces and more short-term stores
Brick-and-mortar and digital retailers alike will look for short-term physical touch-points and more flexibility as consumers demand newness.
3. Western retailers will borrow from ‘new retail’ with data-driven online-to-offline ventures
More Western retailers will follow the example of Amazon and use Alibaba’s “new retail” model for integrating online retail, offline retail and logistics across a single value chain powered by data and technology.
4. Technology will strip friction from brick-and-mortar retail
Retailers will seek to remove traditional pain points from the physical model with offerings such as automated, checkout-free stores.
5. AI will become retailers’ go-to technology
More retailers will turn to artificial intelligence (AI) to make better decisions on pricing and inventory, communicate more effectively with customers, and personalize offerings.
6. Startup partnerships will fuel new product development, digital improvements and operational efficiencies
Established retailers will turn to startups to provide digitalization expertise needed to compete with online-native rivals.
7. Supply chains will switch from lines to loops
Retailers in verticals such as apparel will work with technology vendors and product suppliers to shift from traditional linear, planned supply chains to digitalized, reactive feedback loops.
8. Consumers will look for environmentally and socially engaged brands and retailers
Consumers will shop more consciously, benefitting retailers who are ethical, sustainable and values-driven.
9. More consumers will expect ‘smart retail’ interactions
Shoppers’ growing familiarity with offerings such as chatbots, voice assistants and personalization will intensify demand for smart and anticipatory interactions across channels.
10. Shoppers will seek more inclusive offerings
Consumers will favor offerings that are inclusive and accessible, such as plus-sized fashions and casual styles, over goods that are exclusive or aspirational.