The retail landscape in 2030 will be very different from the traditional retail model as we know it. Key predictions of retail in 2030 at GlobalData are as follows: the customer experience will be frictionless, personalisation, and convenience will drive purchasing, advanced payments will take over the industry, automation will aid or replace workers, and lifestyle choices will reshape the retail landscape. 

Frictionless customer experience

How customers engage with retail stores has already shifted to an online model. While ecommerce is much more engrained and is only going to increase, brick-and-mortar retail is set for a massive change. ​Retailers will push to ensure that the customer experience is at the forefront of brick-and-mortar shopping. ​Traditional shopping centres will no longer act as a means of just shopping; instead, they will become entertainment hubs where people go for leisure and fun. Some countries have already adopted this, with the Dubai Mall being a notable shopping centre that acts as an entertainment hub. This mall features a waterfall, aquarium, and an ice rink, and has proven to be a hit among tourists. The key here is that more unique experiences will increase footfall, and in turn, increase sales. Shopping centres that prioritise this will be the ones that survive 2030 and onwards. ​

Personalisation and convenience 

As the entertainment factor has proven to be a key element of the consumer experience, the purchasing journey must be equally fun and interactive.​ Consumers will visit brick-and-mortar stores to make conscious purchases, and the retailers of 2030 will ensure that this process is as convenient and personal as possible.

Advanced payment methods 

Payment methods in 2030 are set to be a core addition to the frictionless model, as retailers pivot into the metaverse.​ Even now, retailers are leading the adoption of the metaverse. Many apparel, foodservice, and jewellery companies have already set up virtual worlds on platforms like Roblox and The Sandbox to improve brand awareness and consumer engagement. Some are investing in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) while others are exploring advertising opportunities to establish new revenue streams. This trend will mature by 2030.​

Automation ​

Retail staff are set to be replaced by automation in 2030​. Many stores have already implemented cashier-less checkout or self-checkouts, and tech advancements in 2030 will remove the need for most floor staff in retail. ​Automation promises to supply a consistent flow of mundane repetitive tasks and its adoption will be seen through the increased use of drones, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and ambient commerce.​

Lifestyle choices 

The retail space will shift to adapt to changing consumer lifestyle choices. For consumers that aspire to live a social-media-perfect life, shopping centres are shifting from being merely a place to shop, to a means of entertainment and fulfilment. ​As the influencer generation continues to evolve, there will be an increased emphasis on the need to look and feel good. With this in mind, shopping centres will integrate gyms and cosmetic clinics. And with tech advancements in 2030, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) may be adapted to show clinicians or personal trainers the desired outcome/goal. ​Social commerce will also be the norm among shoppers in 2030 as social media continues to gain popularity. ​