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The future of retailing - CBRE vision

Shopping centres today, but what will their role be tomorrow?
Shopping centres today, but what will their role be tomorrow?

There is a great deal of talk about the future of retailing when e-commerce really takes hold. Broker CBRE has been setting out its vision of how our shopping habits may change in this new cyber-future, taking the year 2030 as a reference date.

It believes that automation, personalisation and Big Data are going to be the trends which change the retail sector and the way in which people will make their purchases. In its report ‘The Future of Retail – 2030’, CBRE also says that retailers will increasingly invest in new technologies and automation, and that this ‘robotisation’ will have an impact on the number of jobs available within retailing companies. And with the advance of the Internet of Things, or connected objects, the behaviour patterns of consumers will be better known and understood, and retailers will be able to better anticipate needs. There will thus be total transparency which will enable retailers to be more efficient in executing orders.

Perhaps the most interesting prediction, however, is simply that with intelligent devices such as smartphones, consumers will be able to buy whatever they like, whenever they want, and wherever they are…

What all this means for the shops we visit at the moment remains to be seen, but one issue (which is already apparent) comes to mind. If consumers do not go into a shop to try on the shoes/dress/trousers, they are likely to order two sizes in two colours, and have to send back three of the four items which arrive. Returns management, last mile delivery and more, will all have to be more automated, and physical space has to be found for all this to happen. You can order your shoes by internet, but they can’t be delivered or returned by internet.
Tim Harrup
07-12-2017


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