Utilising predictive analytics to create a customised user experience is essential to future-proof retailers, a keynote has told an industry forum.

Unlocking the benefits of predictive analytics and data to create a personalised user experience is essential if retailers want to flourish in the age of digital disruption, Jon Holloway, respected futurist  and co founder of Zuper Superannuation told a forum of up to 200 industry leaders.

Australian retailers on Wednesday met to discuss how the sector can leverage e-commerce to equip themselves for a rapidly transforming sector. In an interview with Retailbiz, Mr Holloway said that the future of retail will see the end of brick-and-mortar as consumers increasingly expect a tailored and convenient user experience driven by digital transformation.

This monumental shift in the sector is being driven by changes in human behaviour spurred on by digital technology, Mr Holloway told Retailbiz. The advent of search engines more than two decades ago has rewired human thinking, he says, resulting in once “captive” audiences now active “discoverers.”

“A lot of marketers and businesses have missed the fact it has rewired the way we think. We think differently to 10-15 years ago and that’s accelerating and smart phones put it on steroids.”

“This change in human behaviour is making us strive for different things moving from supply-demand to demand-supply.”

Smart retailers can get an upper-hand on the shift if they unlock the benefits of predictive analytics and data to create a personalised user experience to know what consumers want before they do, Mr Holloway said.

“I truly believe that with the technology we have coming and the technology we have today if we can’t predict what customers want before they come to you, they will die.”

“Somewhere between 6-10% of retail is done from e-commerce online at the moment. I can see that hitting 50 per cent in the next 10-15 years.”

Out with the old, in with the new

Most large brick-and-mortar retailers will die as they are disrupted by incumbents, Mr Holloway says, with the only sole brick-and-mortar retailers still viable those that can create stand-out brands and a unique user experience.

“Anybody who can create a brand and a story.  Something that people buy into well beyond a transaction will survive,” he said.

Traditional showrooms will increasingly be phased out and replaced by stores that offer experiences, such as those experiences offered in Aesop, Lululemon‘s yoga classes, or Nike‘s digital stores, Mr Holloway says.

“There’s this 10-15% which will become digital-physical but probably more digital than physical.”

More money, less time 

There’s huge opportunity in a growing market of consumers that will have more discretionary income, and less time, Mr Holloway said.

But this market will ultimately fuel the growth of e-commerce and the demise of brick-and-mortar retail stores as we know them, he argues.

“Several people think certain group of people will become very much more financially stable and have more discretionary income but will get busier. That doesn’t go well for retail as it exists now.”