Not only did 2019 present some of the toughest trading conditions in history, with 140,000 job losses, and 8,000 stores closing in the last 12 months, but there are fears that this will continue into 2020.

There is still a glimmer of hope, despite the gloomy news, and although it won’t be overnight, things are expected to improve. With some trends that have been gathering pace during 2019, and new trends that will all emerge from the industry in 2020, there will be concepts that catch everyone’s attention.

Sustainability is no doubt going to be a continuing trend. In 2019, seven out of ten grocers reduced their plastic packaging, as well as pledging to reduce their carbon footprint. The retail sector is likely to see strong transitions to environmentally friendly and decomposable products within the year.

Environmental responsibility will become a differentiator for retailers, as consumers make educated choices on where they shop, responding to the need for sustainability and eco-concerns. There will also be a big push in reducing food waste, with retailers needing to forecast waste with more accuracy.

Technology will continue to push the industry beyond recognition, with consumers using online shopping channels more and more. The move from in-store to multi-channel spending has caused retailers to make huge adjustments to the way they conduct business.

It is expected that retailers will focus more on the digital customer experience, rather than the face-to-face and in-store experiences, as well as relying on technology to advertise their wares and brand, with AI and social media playing a big part in targeted advertising.

The way we shop on the high street will change, as retailers will offer consumers a place to have an experience, not just a place to purchase items. John Lewis and Waitrose have launched their own experience centric concept in Southampton, and in London, both Adidas and The Body Shop are creating more of an personalised experience for consumers.

It has become evident that consumers keep a close eye on loyalty schemes, and have no qualms when switching between schemes for the best offers. 2019 saw many retailers put forward initiatives to boost loyalty.

Discounting has always been a means to drive shoppers in to stores, but discount events such as Black Friday only serve to pull Christmas sales forward, leading to reduced margins due to sales volume.

It’s no secret that the retail landscape is undergoing a dramatic shift. The needs of the consumer are always changing, and the high street continues to be hit by the might of the massive online retailers, which doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

Consumers feel no shame in switching brand loyalties, if a brand cannot offer them the right experience at the right price. It has become essential for retailers to ensure they are not simply following trends, but that they understand the problem they are trying to solve, and meeting the needs of their customers.

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