Commerce 2040: The Future of the Retail Store in a Digital World

October 2021

Euromonitor International’s Commerce 2040 series outlines a vision for how consumers might shop in two decades. This report focuses on how the competing forces that are reshaping retail will impact the future of the store. In particular, the shift towards e-commerce is forcing retailers and brands to rethink the purpose and use of stores. By depicting this long-term view, companies can take meaningful action today to adapt to the changing retail landscape in the digital era.

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Key Findings

Competing forces converge to reshape tomorrow’s retail landscape

There are several competing forces at play that taken together will dictate how the retail industry evolves. These competing forces range from the role of humans versus bots in the commerce experience to whether consumers shop online versus in store to shifting power dynamics between retailers and brands.

Broadly speaking, there will be two types of retail spaces in the future

Convenience stores will exist to sell impulse purchases and irregularly purchased convenience goods. In experiential centres, experiences will be cultivated around products that require more consideration, such as electronics or clothes.

New concepts will emerge in retail stores by 2040

A hallmark of the future store will be the ability to identify the consumer at check in rather than checkout. This will enable store associates to provide a more personalised and contextualised shopping experience. This could go so far as retailers and brands being able market to consumers based on their mood.

Data will become more paramount

This level of personalisation will not be possible without data. As companies and brands seek to forge more one-to-one relationships with consumers by offering tailored experiences and recommendations, data will serve an ever more critical role in the shopping journey of tomorrow’s consumer.

Change will not happen overnight

The digital darlings of the early millennium rose to prominence by leveraging technology to introduce consumers to a new way of conducting business. This next stage of development will be slightly different in that it will require a greater overhaul of infrastructure and ecosystem partnerships.

Scope
Key findings
Commerce 2040 series explores how commerce might evolve in the next 20 years
Neighbourhood of old might be in vogue again following tech infusion
How the neighbourhood of the future might look come 2040
Euromonitor’s virtual event brings Commerce 2040 to life
Competing forces converge to reshape tomorrow’s retail landscape
How 10 competing forces are reshaping the future of retail (1)
How 10 competing forces are reshaping the future of retail (2)
These 10 competing forces provide a framework for understanding how retail might evolve
Key themes that will shape the future retail store
The importance of these themes varies by region
How the retail store of tomorrow will evolve
Top reason consumers shop in store is to see or try before buying
Consumers shop differently across product categories
In the future, there will broadly be two types of physical spaces in retail
Concepts that might emerge in retail stores by 2040
Concepts that might emerge in retail stores by 2040
Commerce 2040: street view of the convenience store
Commerce 2040: in the aisle of the convenience store
Commerce 2040: the front-end of the convenience store
Commerce 2040: street view of the experiential centre
Commerce 2040: the entrance of the experiential centre
Commerce 2040: an inside view of the experiential centre (1)
Commerce 2040: an inside view of the experiential centre (2)
The changes as described will not happen overnight
Companies are embracing various strategies to innovate the in-store shopping experience
Best of both worlds: Beautycounter’s store blends offline-online experience
Going on autopilot: Carrefour deploys more automation to support fulfilment needs
Sensory shopping: Swarovski opens new concept store that is a “feast for the senses”
Thoughtful experiential: Arc’teryx flagship store showcases impactful experiences
Coming together: IKEA tests concept to encourage consumers to linger rather than checkout
For members only: Nike opens store with exclusive experience for loyalty members
Leading with purpose: the BodyShop launches new recycling schemes across UK stores
A place to co-create: Freitag brand enables customers to design and finish their own bags
Patents recently granted to some of the most prominent global tech titans
Markets to watch for technological development and innovation
How commerce is likely to evolve over the next 20 years
Implications for retailers and brands
Implications by product category
Six actions to consider in preparation for the retail store evolution
Half of the imperatives hinge on more robust, real-time data collection to inform strategy
The other half of the imperatives focus on knowing your company and your customer
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