How will the retail industry look in five years’ time?

There is no doubt that the retail industry is one that has been disrupted hugely in the last decade. Only a few years ago, consumers rarely used e-commerce at all. Customers were still prepared to stand in long queues outside high street stores to get their hands on new products.

Fast forward to the present day and more than half of all purchases in the United States are made online, and that number is almost certainly replicated across the pond here in the UK.

So, considering the radical innovations within the retail industry in the last decade, how will things look in coming years? 2018’s consumers are more demanding than ever before. They want one-click purchases, next-day, or even same day, deliveries, all wrapped up in a unique multi-sensory package. What will the 2020s bring for retail?

Virtual retail experiences will become commonplace

The emergence of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into the mainstream will see virtual retail experiences become a major benefit for consumers. It’s not simply a sales gimmick either. IKEA’s own AR app allows shoppers to view what products would look like in their home before they’ve even visited an IKEA store; thus, reducing the percentage of product returns and improving overall retail efficiencies.

Mobile advertising trumps web advertising

Retail brands are increasingly switching their attention from web-based advertising to mobile advertising. By next year, worldwide mobile advertising revenues are set to rise to almost $64 billion. As part of this, in-app mobile advertising will become a key line of communication between retailers and consumers.

The rise of digital personal shoppers

Although digital assistants like Siri might irritate some consumers today, wait until they’re unleashed into the world of online retail. You might just find that they become a little more useful. A digital personal shopper will help you to pinpoint the ideal product(s) or service(s) and filter out the unsuitable options based on your preferences at the touch of a button. Ideal for those with limited time.

Curated shopping for time-poor consumers

Busy millennial shoppers simply don’t have the time or the inclination to sift through product categories anymore. The future of retail will be 100% curated. Shoppers will get the chance to buy entire outfits rather than individual garments, based on their preferences and needs. It’s fast becoming a legitimate retail model, and not just in clothing either. Curated food boxes that deliver set meal ingredients are already making it easy for families to cook up a storm.

Do you run an online retail company that’s researching and investigating new ways of innovating to your customers? If so, you could be eligible to claim for research and development (R&D) tax relief.

Any business in any sector investing time and money in advancing their respective industry is eligible for R&D tax credits in the UK. Whether you’re a business with fewer than 500 employed staff and a turnover of less than €100m or you operate a global e-commerce platform, SME R&D Relief and Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) can help retailers claim back qualifying R&D costs through tax relief.

Arrange a free consultation with our team of experienced and approachable tax incentive advisors today. At Kene Partners, our mission is to help innovative companies access millions of pounds of government money set aside to foster innovation. Your business could be next.