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Retail shops

How will the retail industry transform in a post-COVID-19 world?

The retail industry is among the most impacted of asset classes during the current COVID climate, CBRE looks at how the retail industry will transform

Retailers will have to reimagine their current strategies not only to keep them relevant in today's retail sector but also to anticipate the future of the industry and ensure long-term success according to a new co-written report by CBRE and Roland Berger: Trends in the GCC Retail Market.

Due to its interconnected nature, the retail industry is particularly vulnerable to the effects of this pandemic and leaves retailers uncertain on how to respond to the current state of the retail market, as well as about their future in a post-Covid-19 world

Gabriella De La Torre, Director: Consulting at CBRE, commented, “Retailers with a successful online presence have been able to minimize the impact, and in some cases even managed to drive profits as a result of frenzied online consumption.”

The report outlines five key trends:

1, Landlords and tenant alike can benefit from flexible structures, with the former maximizing their occupancy rates and returns, and the latter given greater room for innovation and growth.

2. Experiential retailing continues to push retailers to create a unique experience for the consumers.

3. There is also no longer a dichotomy between online and offline retail, with each approach working together with the other to maximize customer experiences. This trend has gained traction worldwide but has yet to see the same traction in the GCC.

4. Many small online-only retail brands are seeking greater access to consumers and in the US a new concession-based model provides small flexible spaces for online-only brands

5. The region may not be ready for “Just Walk Out” technology, but it is beginning to see an uptake in RFID tags and in a post COVID-19 world where social distancing may become the norm, we expect to see further uptake of this technology.

“Virtual fitting rooms will allow customers to experience testing and trying on clothing before purchasing online and customized on-demand apparel, offering customers a personalized experience fitted to their exact requirements will become standard. Using AI, retailers are engaging with their customers at a conversational level providing more personalized experience, plus they are using visual search technology to identify and buy similar products through simply snapping and uploading a picture. And autonomous last-mile delivery is becoming a reality with use of delivery robots and drones,” commented Dr. Johannes Distler, Partner at Roland Berger.

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