Beyond Retail 2030:An outlook of the retail landscape


Sebastián Ramírez

Country Manager Central Cluster

The future of the retail industry has become quite fascinating. The AI transformative era has reshaped the retail landscape with technological innovations, evolving consumer behaviors, and an ever-present push towards sustainability. In the past, I’ve shared trends to harness growth and transformation during this new shopping era. In light of the AI revolution and current technological advancements, at propelland, we wanted to delve into what the future looks like for retail, what trends we are seeing with our global partners that are redefining the retail experience, explore their significance, and share high-level tactical implementations that business leaders from industry giants can adopt.

Omnichannel Customer Service: Extending the Store's Reach

The significance of omnichannel customer service cannot be overstated. It bridges the gap between online convenience and in-store personalization, reflecting the modern consumer’s expectation for seamless service across all platforms. This integrated approach not only caters to the digital lifestyle of consumers but also reinforces the relevance of physical stores by making them more accessible and responsive to online inquiries. The advantage here lies in creating a personalized shopping experience that fosters loyalty and increases sales while also optimizing staff productivity through better customer information management and task efficiency.

Looking ahead: Retailers can integrate advanced AI to answer questions about styling, what’s on stock and other routine online inquiries, freeing up store associates to provide more nuanced, personalized service in person.

Companies that employ omnichannel strategies boast a 23x higher customer satisfaction rate. This showcases the significant improvement in customer experience when service is seamless across channels.


Store Returns: Adding Convenience, Cutting Costs, and Driving Sustainability

The escalating trend of online shopping and the average 30% in product returns, according to the National Retail Federation, highlights the critical role of efficient return processes. Implementing convenient in-store return options addresses this issue head-on, offering a dual benefit: it enhances customer satisfaction through ease of returns while simultaneously driving in-store foot traffic. Additionally, embracing returns as an integral part of the circular economy speaks directly to the growing consumer demand for sustainability, offering a tangible way for retailers to contribute to environmental efforts and align with consumer values on sustainability.

Looking ahead: Retailers can develop tech-enabled returns platforms that accept both their products and those from third parties. Launching or partnering with product reuse and recycling programs further underscores a commitment to sustainability.

In-Store Customized Manufacturing

The move towards in-store customized manufacturing marks a significant shift towards meeting individual consumer preferences and the demand for unique products. This trend underscores the importance of leveraging technology to offer personalized shopping experiences, thereby increasing customer loyalty. The advantage of this approach is twofold: it reduces waste and inventory needs by focusing on made-to-order products, and it distinguishes retailers from competitors by offering unique, customizable products that cater to the specific desires of their customers, potentially at a premium.

+75% of consumers are willing to pay more for customized products.


Looking ahead: Retailers can introduce in-store scanning technologies for custom merchandise, from footwear to apparel. Investing in on-demand manufacturing equipment will enable the creation of personalized products that meet specific customer demands.

Retail 2030 - Mobile Technology

Mobile Technology: Engaging In-Store Shoppers

With the majority of consumers using smartphones for shopping, integrating mobile technology into the in-store experience is essential. This strategy not only provides a familiar platform for customers to enhance their shopping experience but also offers retailers a powerful tool for personalized marketing and improved customer engagement. The advantage of adopting in-store mobile technology lies in its ability to make shopping more interactive, personalized, and convenient, leading to increased customer satisfaction and sales.

Looking ahead: Implementing AR-based navigation and location-based marketing can transform the in-store journey. Retailers should focus on developing mobile apps that offer exclusive in-store features, such as virtual aisle browsing, real-time promotions, and augmented reality fittings. Integrating mobile payment options further streamlines the shopping process, enhancing customer satisfaction.

“The lines between physical and digital are blurring...We're maniacally focused on delivering a seamless experience for our customers, no matter how they choose to shop.”

Doug McMillon

CEO at Walmart

Automated Checkout: Eliminating Payment Friction

Retail 2030 - Self Checkout

Automated checkout systems epitomize the industry’s drive towards efficiency and convenience, addressing consumer demand for quick and seamless transactions. The importance of this trend is evident in its ability to drastically reduce wait times and improve the overall shopping experience, making it a key differentiator for retailers. The advantages extend beyond customer convenience; automated checkout systems offer a wealth of data on shopping behaviors, enhance inventory management, and can lead to cost savings on labor. By redefining the checkout experience, retailers cannot only meet but exceed customer expectations, fostering loyalty and encouraging repeat visits.

73% of consumers prefer self-checkout over staffed checkout lines.

Source: Gitnux Market Reports

Looking ahead: Retailers can integrate advanced sensors and AI to track purchases as customers move through the store, enabling a seamless checkout experience. It’s essential to maintain a balance between technology and human interaction, ensuring that staff are available to assist with customer service and complex inquiries. Equally important is the implementation of robust security measures in data collection and management. Protecting customer data is not just a regulatory compliance requirement but a fundamental aspect of building trust and ensuring a secure shopping environment.

The retail industry’s future hinges on innovation, adaptability, and a deep understanding of consumer needs. Retailers that embrace these trends and implement strategic changes can expect to thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape. By focusing on enhancing the customer experience through technology, sustainability, and personalization, businesses can build lasting relationships with consumers and secure their place in the future of retail.

At propelland, we help companies embrace these trends through a holistic approach that blends technology with the expertise of our multidisciplinary team of strategists, designers, and engineers. We are dedicated to creating an engaging, efficient, and meaningful shopping experience.

Partner with us to secure a sustainable and profitable future for your retail business. Contact us today to explore how we can support your company’s transformation and growth. Let’s innovate together!