Robots and automation are set to shake-up the retail industry by 2030, replacing many of the jobs on shop floors, according to a forward-looking report from CBRE.
Amazon has started trialling a grocery store without a checkout in Seattle, using machine technology to bill customers on their Amazon accounts while they shop. These innovations could become the norm, CBRE said, and the retail industry will need to keep up with technological developments to ensure consumers are satisfied.
Other trends businesses will need to keep on top of include the "power of prediction" and allowing customers to buy goods when they see them.
"Advances in smart device technology will allow consumers to literally buy what they see: anywhere, any time. Simple, real–time image capture analysis makes everything ‘shoppable’ from any source," CBRE said.
Apps already exist which allow consumers to screen-shot pictures of their favourite celebrities and immediately buy the products they see in images. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian has been promoting these technologies on her Instagram, an app which has itself become a key promotional tool for brands.
Data is already central to the success of retailers, and in 10 years, businesses will know even more about their customers and how they shop.
However, even with all the likely advances in technology, and the increasing importance of mobile sales, shoppers will still want to visit stores, which will remain an important way for retailers to market goods.
Andrew Phipps, head of UK and EMEA retail research at CBRE, said: "The future of retail is going to change more than we could ever imagine. At CBRE we have taken the time of think about what will change and what it will mean for consumers and the retail industry as a whole.
"Physical real estate remains important as a sales channel and increasingly as a communicator of the brand and a demonstrator of experience."
Other key predictions CBRE has made about the retail industry include:
- Consumers will want more personalisation
- Online-only retailers will no longer be an important part of retail
- Competition for people's disposable incomes will increase