New York, United States - February 7, 2019 Fulton Center NYC Subway Station in downtown from mobile stairs

In just a few decades smart bots and experience hubs will redefine the customer experience, according to a new report predicting the state of retail in 2040.

A new report from Euromonitor forecasting the online retail landscape in two decades’ time has imagined a world in which technology is ubiquitous and personalization and data power unique, memorable experiences.

From bots that will help personalize the user experience to experiential stores with facial scanners and automatic payment ports, the retail landscape in 2040 will be powered by technology.

Immersive retailing will be the big trend, with consumer spending on experience set to blow out from US 5.8 trillion to US 8 trillion, the report says.

Consumer demand for experiences will drive the growth of experiential hubs of the future which will exist to sell impulse purchases or irregularly purchased convenience goods while voice will guide consumers throughout the store.

Shoppers who stroll past shopfronts will receive contextual alerts on pricing and promotions and stores will have separate entrances for those picking up orders made online.

Facial scanning will identify consumers upon entry to stores to enable tailored experience and payment will be automatic.

Meanwhile testing areas in shops will allow consumers to try clothes in virtual form and virtual stylists will be on hand to help.

“Smart retailers will leverage technology to remove the hassles of shopping for mundane purchases while tapping into the innate curiosity to see, feel and experience specific products,” the report says.

Convenience stores will likely be the only outlets with inventory, the report says, with former retail outlets will shift into micro experiential centres.

“The lines between real and virtual will increasingly blur as consumers routinely layer virtual over reality, gaining more information or engaging in gamification opportunities for rewards or fun,” the report says.

The growth of the Internet of Things will see more people connected – both in their homes and in public – resulting in increased uptake of online shopping.

This shift will also lead to a spike in passive consumption as more consumers embrace automation in the purchasing process.

Consumers will expect a journey from their shopping experience and retailers will increasingly be expected to focus on giving customer’s value at every stage of the customer journey.

This will require retailers to connect with the customer digitally through the medium, that is the most convenient for them – whether that be a chat app or social media.