The Value of European Retail – A graphic factbook


Retail Trends 2022


The State of Fashion 2021


UK online clothing sales to overtake high street sales in 2022


The State of Retail 2021 / 2022. An Industry in Transition


What’s in Store for 2022?

2022 will be a pivotal year for retail as we move into a post-COVID world.

Hyper-localised, dark stores will continue to grow as larger grocers adopt this concept and use their buying power and economies of scale to undercut the newer entrants. Dark store automation and algorithmic local inventory optimisation will become critical to ensure that the goods are available and delivered within the promised time. Retailers will rely on machine learning to model the complexities of demand variation, use shelf-scanning technologies to spot empty shelves and misplaced items, and automated warehouse solutions will be used to speed up the picking process.

Physical retail will make a comeback, but the stores will be increasingly populated with sensors and cameras to capture consumer engagement, monitor shelf availability, and generally capture data about every aspect of the store and the customers who shop there. Casher-less, contactless shopping experiences will grow significantly, with multiple food stores retrofitting their spaces to enable the ‘just-walk-out’ experience.

The items in these stores will also become increasingly localised due to the amount of online and offline data that retailers are able to capture about consumers and where they live. Powerful ML algorithms will be used to understand the buying behaviour of people in that region and predict which goods will be popular rather than simply provide a standard portfolio. Combined with the use of 5G beacons, this data enables retailers to offer more personalised and contextual experiences and promotions, offering incentives to shoppers when they approach a store.

We will also see more stores operating as micro-fulfilment centres to service online deliveries, returns and click-and-collect orders. This increasing level of backroom automation and technological support will enable the human staff to focus their time and efforts on providing a more personal shopping experience to shoppers in the store.

Road robots such as Starship’s delivery robots will start to become a familiar sight on pavements across cities in Western Europe. In October, Starship announced that their robots had completed 2 million deliveries, as well as partnering with British grocer Co-Op to deliver goods to customers across the UK.

Biometric payment systems will also expand in Western European stores but expect low adoption in Eastern Europe, where the public are naturally cautious about giving away personal data. However, the implementation of global digital vaccine passports will accelerate the adoption of biometric payment, as people become accustomed to sacrificing their privacy for convenience.

Blockchain will make an entrance, with barcodes online and offline that link to certificates that prove that goods were produced ethically and sustainably, including the amount of Co2 emissions involved in its supply chain.

Finally, as natural language processing (NLP) continues to become ever more sophisticated, expect to see the increased use of voice as a means of communication between the retailer and the consumer.

The aim of these developments is to eliminate as many consumer barriers and inconveniences as possible while also merging the shopper’s digital and physical identity into one single customer profile. This moves the consumer from a faceless member of a generic group to where retailers effectively have a digital twin of each customer on their system. This allows retailers to offer an increasingly personalised shopping experience, whatever the channel.