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Recently I finished the Exponential Technologies Expert Certification™ by the IIEC, provided at online learning platform. If you are interested, take a look at their programs.

Emerging Technologies Trends in 2020 that will Shape the Future of Retail Industry

Written by Veronica Chiaravalli


I see more agility, better service, and the impact of going digital with faster connections.

The changes have already arrived and are seen in other industries and areas as well.

It’s time for companies to start preparing a new marketing plan for this year and the near future.

Insights from Business Insider

Business Insider published an article and report on this called “Retail Trends in 2020 & The Future of Retail” in which they talk about 10….

  1. Direct-to-Consumer Brands Will Go Mainstream
  2. Frictionless Commerce Will Speed Up Traditional Retail Transactions
  3. Brandless Brands Will Begin to Surge
  4. Social Commerce Will Shine Mid-Funnel
  5. Shoppable Video & Voice Technology Will Grow
  6. The Battle for Faster Delivery Will Accelerate Ecommerce
  7. The Rise of ‘Retail as a Service’ for Both Ecommerce and Brick-and-Mortar
  8. Increased Subscription Commerce & Building Customer Loyalty for Growth
  9. The Rise of Recommerce (Resale of Secondhand Goods)
  10. .Digital Installment Payment Plans Will Become More Popular in a Tight Economy

You can buy the full report at the above link.

One of the key takeaways is: ”Total US retail sales are expected to grow 2.0% to $5.574 trillion in 2020, representing a deceleration of the retail market amid rising economic uncertainty. ”

The retail industry is undergoing a major transformation in ecommerce and brick-and-mortar. The era of inventory-led retail is ending, and the shift toward brands and the customer experience is emerging.

Set against a backdrop of heightened economic uncertainty, we examine the changing fundamentals of the retail sector and the most important trends that will shape the year ahead.

How much will US consumers spend on retail and ecommerce in 2020?

We forecast a moderation in growth rates vs. previous years, with total retail sales expected to grow 2.0% to $5.574 trillion and ecommerce sales expected to grow 12.8% to $666.28 billion.

Which retailers will succeed, and which will struggle?

Amazon, Walmart, Target and other leaders are well-positioned for the year ahead, as are many of the direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands now expanding into brick-and-mortar. Department stores and other traditional mall-based retailers will continue to struggle.

Which innovations will reshape physical retail?

In brick-and-mortar, innovation in experiential and frictionless retail will begin to scale. The rise of click-and-collect, easy returns, mobile order-ahead and cashierless checkout will help streamline

transactions. Meanwhile, physical “Retail as a Service” platforms will bring more digitally native brands to the masses through brick-and-mortar storefronts and experiences.

Which innovations will influence how consumers shop online?

Social commerce will evolve how consumers discover and shop for brands digitally with more shoppable content and a streamlined path to checkout. Digital installment plans will make ecommerce purchases more affordable without saddling consumers with added debt.

Insights from the Company Plug-and-Play

I found a very interesting article written by Plug-and-Play called ”What Future Retail These Are Our Predictions 2020”.


According to their article, these are the predictions:

  • Retailapocalypse will finally be behind us
  • Data exploitation will change everything
  • Agility and efficiency will be more important than ever.
  • New immersive shopping experiences
  • Sustainability is more than just good marketing.

I can see that there are many different changes going on at the same time.

Below is more information about these points and our comments.

These are their predictions about the future of retail:

Retailpocalypse” will (finally) be behind us

According to Pieter Lammens, the Director of Lafayette Plug and Play:

“One year from now, only the most agile retailers will survive and bloom again. The immediate investments have to be targeted on supply chain and inventory optimization. Pure players have set
new customer service standards that have to be matched by traditional retailers: fast deliveries, click and collect, ship from store, easy returns.”

So even in retail we see the importance of agility.

The article continues to explain that ”stores will still exist, but their prime function will be customer experience. Tedious tasks, like logistics, will become more and more automated, but we have to keep in mind that the five human senses can only be stimulated in store! And so far no bot or personalization tool has been able to even come close to a good sales assistant.”

I remember that I saw a video where a store showed a gigantic screen helping the customer and the experience was amazing.

According to a research I did some months ago, people will also be able to order cloths from home and have their measurements taken by a sort of gigantic screen and have the cloths delivered very fast. This will all be possible thanks to the fast connection. In short, I would say that the transformation will even be seen at homes.

Plug-and-Play also states:

Data exploitation will change everything

According to Amelie Poisson, Director of Marketing, Brand & Customer Experience at La Redoute:

  • The development of responsible consumption. “Already very present in food,” this trend “will spread across all sectors, and brands must be ready for this new expectation of customers.”
  • The “new retail” or hybrid business between physical and digital experience. There won’t be “a barrier for the customer”, “who chooses at any time its omnichannel purchase mode (store app, payment without cashing, etcetera)”
  • New ways of marketing and interacting with the customer: Via “messaging, social networks, global platforms (like Tmall in China), etc.”

This is very important and I already see this change even on LinkedIn, where companies and even consultants, create their videos with presentations, interact with their customers via articles, podcasts, and LinkedIn slideshare. I also see how writing articles play a more important part as a way of gaining trust from the people. So, even LinkedIn is changing the way we do marketing, and is in front of our eyes at a daily basis.

Agility and efficiency will be more important than ever

According to Christian Kunz, Director of Corporate Development & Co-Founder of Lafayette Plug and Play:

“I believe the big shift will come with respect to the role of stores; they remain the big differentiating factor between traditional retailers and pure players, and the way these retailers utilize them will become central to their success. Rather than being simply a showcase and point of purchase for the brands/retailers’ products, we envision stores also becoming more experiential spaces and even fulfillment centers to create a full omnichannel experience.”

New immersive shopping experiences

According to Roy Moussa, Co-Founder of Qopius, the predictions for retail in 2020 are four:

  • Dynamic planogram based on local store needs
  • Location-based services for consumers inside the physical store
  • Dynamic pricing based on accurate demand forecasting
  • Immersive shopping experience using image recognition by providing a store-like e-commerce experience

Sustainability is more than just good marketing

According to Paloma Mas, a Venture Analyst at Plug and Play:

“Retailers know that adopting circular economy principles and producing in a more sustainable way will help them engage with their existing customers and reach new audiences more concerned about the environment. They should be applying these new technologies that will soon become essential for every player in the industry.”


In short, agility and sustainability will play a very important role.

Retailers will be focusing more on delivering a better experience for their customers.

Branding and customer experience will also be very important. So, it is time to really become good at this.

The way marketing is done will change and their will be an improvement in how brands interact with customers. Video already plays a more important role.

The numbers in the report from Business Insider are very high (billions and trillions) showing a clear global impact which is another reason why we should pay attention to these emerging technologies and trends in retail.

Written by Veronica Chiaravalli