The future of retail is connected, mobile, virtual and circular

Meabh Quoirin, Co-founder and CEO of Foresight Factory

A new report from leading global research and shopper behaviour agency, Foresight Factory, and Snap has uncovered four key insights shaping the future of Australian retail.  

The report polling 20,000 shoppers globally, including 1,500 Australians, revealed a strong appetite for consumers to return to in-person retail environments.

However Australian shoppers want to see the convenience and safety of online shopping translated to brick and mortar stores. 

Key insights from the report include the following.

Online shopping not the right fit

In the past year, Australian shoppers spent $99.5 million on purchasing clothes online that were returned because they don’t fit.

More than 4 in 10 Australian shoppers state that not being able to see, touch and try out products are the most significant factors that put them off online shopping. 

Virtual testing the key to e-commerce

More than 4 in 10 Australian shoppers say that not being able to see, touch and try out products are the most significant factors that put them off online shopping.

The report shows the future of online shopping could be Augmented with Augmented Reality “try on” technology predicted to reduce annual online returns by 31%.

Connected shopping reimagined

2 in 5 Gen Z consumers say they miss the social aspect of shopping in-store, rising to 53% for Snapchatters. There is a continued demand for social shopping experiences.

The rise in sharing product images with peers is an example of social shopping retailers can replicate, between people in-store and between the shopper and their networks.

Second hand is first choice

Consumer demand for a more sustainable, circular retail economy is growing.

43% of Millennials and 36% of Gen Z in Australia worry about the environmental impact of shopping online, and resale platforms provide alternatives with lower environmental impact.

Over 4 in 10 Australian consumers have already purchased items through a resale platform. 

Meabh Quoirin, co-founder and CEO of Foresight Factory says,“Consumers are demonstrating a clear desire for the human interaction that comes with in-person shopping, alongside the convenience and engagement of online shopping.”

“Connected shopping should be at the heart of brands’ strategies to drive shoppers back into their stores, as our study shows that when brands embrace technologies both in-store and online they could further strengthen and deepen their connections with consumers.” 

Kathryn Carter, General Manager, ANZ, SEA & HK, Snap Inc. says, “There’s no doubt it’s been a tumultuous year for Australian retail. As we look to the future, consumers are demanding a mixed retail experience with all the benefits of online and in-store shopping.”

“Retailers who offer convenience, social interaction, product proximity and personalised shopping experiences, will continue to see growth, especially with young shoppers.”