Webgains’ Future of Retail report looks back on the events of the last couple of years to determine the five key trends which will shape the retail landscape of tomorrow.

The five core trends laid out in the report include the age of omnichannel, the reimagining of the high street, the rise of conscious consumerism, the increase in use of the digital wallet, and last mile service.

In terms of affiliate marketing, the report states that it will be the secret sauce to merchants’ growth in the brave new world of commerce. Ideas surrounding the prominent role of influencer marketing within the affiliate sphere were explored, whether through retail staff or online personas. The emerging trend is clear – influencers are now the new shopfronts.

The report also discusses the need for physical spaces on the high street, stating: “The tactile and habitual act of shopping in physical stores builds a community to mitigate loneliness and creates a sense of place. The encouragement to move towards a more digital shopping experience can still cause hesitancy amongst the old and vulnerable. Being part of somewhere, interpersonal relationships and quality customer service are the draws for these consumers”.

Furthermore, the issue of abandoned retail estates will make room for dark stores and fulfilment centres, bringing new life to the high street and disused malls. The inclusion of omnichannel strategy will be the backbone of the high street’s success, but the importance of customer service and cultivating community still proves to be an imperative part of retail.

Conscious consuming is emerging as an area of focus for businesses in 2022, going from niche to norm. According to the report, a small pool of data from the Webgains network found that ethical and sustainable-based businesses growth increased 298% YoY. This is a strong indicator that change is afoot. The biggest adopter of this shift is the emerging Gen-Z, opting to vote for their wallet.

A recurring theme throughout the report was the transition to a seamless process for payment, phygital features (the blending of physical and digital), and delivery. The customer journey is essential to the survival of businesses within this new landscape. Above all, the report surmises that the future of retail looks promising, it is no longer about transacting at the point of purchase. It is transforming into a holistic experience where influence, lifestyle and community are paramount.

Explore the full report to gain further insight into the future of retail.

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