What is the Future of Retail? These Are Our Predictions for 2020

As 2019 comes to a close, the Retail Design team at CampbellRigg look back at some of the trends that shaped retail over the year and helped set some of the trends for the next decade.


The continued consolidation in the retail industry during 2019m has seen bankruptcies and store closures both outpaced 2018. With a new year opening, there are still a lot of retailers, especially fashion retailers, vulnerable to bankruptcy or CVA’s (Compulsory Voluntary Arrangements). Many of the retailers in distress were leveraged buyouts by private equity firms.


Even retailers in relatively good financial health have been forced to adapt. Among the rallying cry of the day is "experiential" retail design, but that can mean many different things to management teams. Many companies, for example, have taken numerous steps to improve their store experience but still struggle to grow sales. Meanwhile, Target seems to have cracked the code of the modern retail store.


The retail market has been fragmented for a long time and is now heading towards a more consolidated model, and retailers are currently striving. One year from now, only the most agile retailers will survive and thrive again. The immediate investments have to be targeted on supply chain and inventory optimisation. 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.


It was a year when the grocery industry got to work solving some of the biggest issues holding it back, from changing shopper behaviour to e-commerce profitability. Grocery stores became more of a destination. For example, customers are allowed to relax at the bar while associates do the shopping. Others retailers have scaled down their stores to cut costs and make quick trips easier on the consumer.


Other trends sprouted this year, including alcohol delivery, the expansion of grocery pickup and in-store meal kits.

The ‘Experience Economy’ may well be something more of a basic requirement in all retail stores of the future.


In 2020, 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 personalisation tool has been able to even come close to a good sales assistant.


Our internal process of renewal, allows us to continually benchmark and write about the best in class retail trends in many market sectors across the globe. Please take a moment to review other news items linked to this page.


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