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CBRE: the future of retail in 2030

28 February 2018

Robotics, automation and an increasing focus on customer experience are some of the trends expected to transform the retail industry and the way consumers shop in the future. 

The CBRE’s new Future of Retail | 2030 report, examines how retail will look in the future based on changes in people’s lifestyles, urban environments, retail operations, logistics and other trends impacting the industry. 

In the report a CBRE Senior Associate Director, Zelman Ainsworth, discusses some of the key trends and how these are likely to transform the retail landscape in Australia. 

Robotics and automation 

“Robotics are emerging in retail, with robots being used at the entrance of department stores to direct customers to a specific category or products they are looking for. Another new emerging technology is smart mirrors, which can provide an instant product check without even leaving the changing room. 

“The technology scans all products being brought in into the change room, and the mirror will then display what other size and colours are available in the store. Customers can easily touch the smart mirror, which alerts the store staff to bring certain products to the changing room. The technology can also recommend other products that may go well with what the customer is trying on.”

Buying what you want, where and how you want 

“Advances in smart device technology allow consumers to literally buy what they see: anywhere, any time. Simple, real-time image capture analysis makes everything ‘shoppable’ from any source.

“According to our research, two thirds of all customers use both online and retail stores to purchase products. While research is primarily done online, we find customers still prefer the experience of going into a store when possible.”

Customer experiences are specific not generic 

“Retailers are now competing for loyal customers at a global level. The most successful brands are finding ways to connect with the customer in a way that tailors their offering to suit individual wants and needs at any given time.”

Stores will become showrooms and brand ambassadors 

“Retail stores no longer serve the purpose of only being a point of sale - the shop front and instore customer experience has become the most effective way to engage with the public and create a loyal customer following. 

“We are seeing many high-end retailers offering concierge services within their store, where products are bought in store but immediately delivered to the customer home, hotel or office. This is creating a very exclusive and memorable experience for customers.”

Continued attraction of foreign brands 

“International retailers remain highly attracted to Australia given it is still a relatively untapped market amongst wealthy locals and tourists.