E-commerce sales are expected to grow ten times faster than goods bought in-store over the next five years, though “80% of goods will still be bought at a physical outlet, come 2023”, according to Michelle Evans, head of digital consumer research at Euromonitor International.

“Physical retail is certainly still going to exist,” she said at the recent Money 20/20 Asia conference in Singapore. After all, its research shows that connected consumers are primarily motivated to shop in a physical store as they get to “try before buying”.

Central to these changes is the notion of consumer journey as an opportunity to differentiate. As Euromonitor found, the top commerce-specific concern – based on its industry insights survey of 1,445 professionals – is that of improving the customer journey and user experience; 76% of respondents deemed this area as important.

“In the past, it was more about transactions,” she said. “You bought the item, and the relationship was over. Now the consumer journey is about relationship-building.