The future of retail has arrived, according to a leading industry report.

Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retail 2013 highlighted a paradigm shift in the Australian retail sector in a global context amid today’s challenging economic conditions, along with overseas entrants bringing their experiences into a competitive global market to the Australian retail market place.

The shift also resulted in retailing moving from a single physical connection point with customers to a multi-pronged approach that crosses both physical and digital channels.

The report also suggests the traditional bricks and mortar retail store is no longer the dominant medium for purchasing goods. Instead, it serves as one of many potential connection points between customers and retailer’s brand.

Commenting on Deloitte’s report, Russell Zimmerman, Australian Retailers Association executive director, said this has clearly forced Australian retailers to look at every level of their business for greater efficiencies.

“The report shows Australian retail is experiencing a paradigm shift and the future consumer is here. Conducting business seamlessly across both physical and virtual channels has exposed Australian retail not just to competition from overseas but also to overseas entrants marketing their offers directly via new, Australian- based brand outlets.

“In order to deliver service to consumers and remain relevant to modern consumer demand, retailers need to be able to compete on a level playing field in a competitive economy with the best trained staff; as well as needing a regulatory and consumer environment which encourages innovation,” he said.

According to Deloitte, a retailer’s path to relevance is about adopting a single strategy and vision across channels, creating a relevant customer experience and continually evaluating their performance and innovates.