With 2020 just four years from now, we share some of the most important retail trends that will inspire future shoppers to act.

4 devices each
The number of gadgets and human beings has crossed. GSMA’s real-time tracker currently puts this number at 7.6 billion. Strategy Analytics predict that by 2020 there will be 4.3 devices for every person on the planet.

Our tech habits are continuing to change at a great pace and in turn this means our shopping habits are changing too.

Not that long ago we acknowledged that shoppers move from store to online – meaning desktop-based shopping. Now the scales have tipped and online shopping is much more likely to be on a mobile device be that a tablet or a smartphone. According to IMRG 40% of online sales are now made over mobile devices.

One button shopping
A convenience society is placing greater emphasis on our devices to become increasingly simple to use. Shoppers want to buy when and how they like, that’s most convenient to them.

One button shopping is gaining traction in the US and over the next five years we anticipate the UK will start to follow suit. This is all about digitisation continuing to make shopping simpler, easier and tuned to personal preferences.

The Amazon Dash Button has made headlines on both sides of the pond, enabling Prime members in the US to reorder their favourite household items at the touch of a button. Similarly in Dubai a wireless fridge magnet orders your favourite pizza with just one press.

Social and shopping have become so intrinsically linked, we’ve labelled this retail trend ‘shocial’.

Social media is influencing the entire shopper journey and retailers are subsequently benefiting. The Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500 reported that in 2014 the top 500 retailers grew their social commerce sales by 26% to $3.3 billion.

Whereas generation Xers and boomers are more likely to check prices in store, millennials are more likely to involve social media in the process, whether that means visiting a store’s website or app beforehand or looking at a social stream – or sharing while they shop.

Bazaarvoice reported that before millennials enter a store, 62% already know what they want to buy through prior online research and 84% say consumer-written content on brand sites influences purchases.

The DigitasLBi Global Survey reported 35% of UK social media users have shared a purchase via their social network and 49% of global social network users who shared a purchase on social did it “just to let their friends know”.

Social and shopping are already intrinsically linked, and the depth and sophistication of this relationship looks set to develop even further.

Mass customisation
The concept of personalisation has been talked about in retail for some time. Levi Strauss pioneered the idea in the 90s – customers could get measured in-store and then have their design shipped out to them at home. The idea flopped back then, but new technology has driven its revival and it has re-emerged as mass customisation, which takes personalisation one step further by completely reinventing the supply chain.

Shoes of Prey is a fantastic example of this in action, successfully scaling a business that offers custom shoes. Now we can mix up our own cereal with mixmyown.com or even design the roof of our Mini Cooper.

New innovation will only make it easier and more cost-effective to enable consumers to tailor products how they like them.

By 2020 mass customization won’t just give retailers and brands a competitive edge, it will become everyday business as shoppers expect this service as standard.

While geo-targeting, or location-based marketing as it’s often referred to, has been slow to emerge, its ability to help retailers bridge online and physical stores by delivering useful content and promotions to customers in close proximity, puts it on our retail trends list for 2020.

Fiat launched its new 500 campaign with geo-targeting, targeting consumers with promotional messages within a half-mile of its billboards. One in five people reported they were more likely to visit the dealership after seeing the campaign. Mazda reported similar results with its location-based campaign.

According to Adobe Digital Trends 2015, only 8% of retailers are using this technology today, but it’s clearly on the radar as 40% are exploring its implementation – so it is certainly one to watch.

This is an excerpt from Retail 2020, a report that looks at the future of retail. It takes a closer look at the emerging retail trends in depth, seeks to understand how we can motivate millennials and there’s a look at the world of robots by futurist Professor James Woudhuysen.

 Download your free copy now