Social media and the culture around influencers will lead the future of retail as brick and mortar stores move to focus more on entertainment, according to analysts.

“The future of brick and mortar is going to be very different from what it is today,” Shabnam Pervez, analyst at GlobalData, said in a new podcast from the research firm.

She added that the future of retail and shopping centres will become like entertainment hubs and less shopping focused.

The news comes after the pandemic put a stop to in-store shopping and forced traditional retailers to double down on their technology initiatives.

With millions of people being cooped up at home and being unable to go shopping IRL, retailers had no choice but to take their business online or risk default.

Pervez expected that this trend will continue, with in-store shopping becoming more about entertainment. This is also linked to the increased role played by social media.

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“Social media has become more pertinent in the last few years and, in 2030, the influence of influencers will be much stronger,” said Pervez. “The main consumers of 2030 are those who have grown up with access to social media and will take cues on what to buy directly from social media. This will defiantly have an indirect effect on sales.

“However, how these sales are obtained, may be installed by ecommerce or even social commerce, which is buying goods through social media.”

In-store shopping will also benefit from introducing new technologies. Technology like Walmart’s try-on tech and magic mirrors to trial clothing on in-store, will be used to enhance the customer experience.

Pervez believed these technologies will become the norm alongside loopy robot being used to carry out long mile deliveries.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.