KPMG industrial manufacturing expert discusses how bots, autonomous deliveries and 'must-go' experiences will start to reshape the shopping landscape this year

Forget status handbags and the latest iPhone. Hassle-free merchandise pick up and delivery have become the ultimate shopping luxury these days in the eyes of many consumers. The automotive industry has emerged as pivotal to that shift, as retailers scramble to meet shoppers’ rapidly changing service expectations.

Tom Mayor, strategy lead of industrial manufacturing for KPMG, spoke with PSFK on the seminal ways the automotive and delivery industries will impact retail trends in 2019 and beyond.

The Metamorphosis At Malls Signal A Changed Retail Market

“Brick-and-mortar retail continues to be pressured by e-commerce with annual shopping trips per person down by over 21% in the U.S. since 2009,” Mayor said. “You really see it in malls. Think about the number that have closed or are in decline over the last decade. We just don’t go like we used to.

“Take Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Years ago I remember shopping at the Nordstrom there in what was a thriving, upscale mall. Today Nordstrom and the other major anchors are closed and nearly a third of the mall has been repurposed as office space by Ford.”

Fast, Affordable, Autonomous Delivery Becoming The New Shopping Norm

“Think about the ads this past holiday season. I didn't see ‘extended hours' or ‘special sale' ads on TV, but I have seen a lot of Walmart, Target, Giant Eagle and Kroger ads for home delivery with second day, same day and even same-hour options; curbside pickup; or in-store pickup. Dogs bounding to the door to greet the delivery person, happy families avoiding the checkout line and watching their packages get loaded in the SUV – that seems destined to be a growing share of the brick-and-mortar retail experience,” he said.

“Christmas 2018 was just the tip of the iceberg. As automotive and logistics companies bring autonomous delivery vehicles into the market, retailers will increasingly compete on speed and convenience of delivery.”

The Rise Of Autonomous Bots: Will They Displace Shopping Trips?

“Imagine what happens in a few years when, as we expect, inexpensive, autonomous bots become available to take on the delivery task,” he said. “We anticipate that with affordable, autonomous last-mile delivery over twenty billion same-day or same-hour delivery miles could displace even more of today’s shopping trips.”

From ‘Must-Have’ To ‘Must-Go’ Shopping Experiences

“As autonomous delivery becomes the default for ‘must-have’ shopping, brick-and-mortar retail will likely continue to transition to provide ‘must-go’ experiences – [such as] Genius Bars where I can interact with experts or new formats where the trip can be as much for the experience or services as for the goods,” Mayor said.

“We also see brick and mortar reformatting. Developers have shifted from the giant mall to constructing destination retail villages with smaller format specialty and boutique retail that people are willing to drive for, and an assortment of good quality restaurants,” he said. “As a result, despite the 21% decline in annual shopping trips since 2009 the average personal miles traveled for shopping each year has held relatively steady so far. Experience-oriented brick and mortar shopping appears more sustainable than that which is purely need-based in today’s point-and-click world.”

Tom Mayor.


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