The Top Trends Shaping The Future Of Retail

Elevate’s ‘The Future of’ series returned in 2023 with The Future of Retail, which took place in The Dean Hotel this month. A panel of industry experts joined Emma Kelly, MD of Elevate, to discuss the trends impacting retail, including retail after the pandemic, eCommerce, the Metaverse, and what the future of retail holds.

The panellists for The Future of Retail included Managing Director of Regatta Great Outdoors Ireland, Brian Fox, Liz Dolan, Creative Director of Mortar and More, and Ella de Guzman, founder and CEO of Siopaella Designer Exchange. The panel discussed everything from the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses, to climate change, and the role of department stores.

The top trends for retail include:

Post-pandemic trends

Online shopping thrived during the pandemic as businesses learnt to rely less on brick-and-mortar stores. With shops closed, many businesses had to find a new way to reach their customers. For Ella (Siopaella), this meant permanently closing three stores and shifting to social media to drive sales. Ella managed to prevent a drop in sales by using Instagram as a sales tool with Instagram Live videos.

Mortar & More could no longer travel to meet their overseas clients, which led them straight to virtual reality (VR) as an alternative. They took the future retail spaces they had been developing in real life and recreated them online using VR. This allowed their clients to immerse themselves in the space and share the experience with their teams.

Even though online is important, the panel discussed how a strong connection with physical retail gives consumers an added level of trust. Shopping is still an emotional and sensory experience.

Collaboration and partnerships

Business is becoming more aware of the importance of partnerships and how they can elevate a brand and its story. Liz (Mortar & More) believes that any brand can get involved if they find an area that they can authentically stand behind and the right partner.

Siopaella hosts small business pop-ups in their store free of charge as their way of giving back, while Brian (Regatta) believes their partnerships give their brand a personality. Collaborations can help internal messages cascade down to consumers and keep brands relatable.

Climate and culture changes

As a designer resale store, Ella is conscious of the circular economy and climate change. Although it is helpful that large brands are discussing greenwashing, she believes there is still more work to be done.

Being climate conscious requires investment. Liz believes it easier than people think – minimising building interventions is a key recommendation when it comes to architecture and store redesign.

Sustainability is about working with what you have and coming up with creative solutions. Starting small leads to bigger noticeable changes.

The cost of living and inflation are impacting businesses and consumers, along with Brexit and building timelines.

The future of department stores

Department stores, out of town retail, and city-centre retail have different pros and cons. Shopping centres, which often have the highest footfall, come at a cost for brands with the high rents. For Regatta, Brian says, it’s good to have a mix of physical and online and locations.

Shopping centres need to become more collaborative, and community based, according to Liz, so brands can work together to provide an experience for visitors.


The worlds of NFTs, cryptocurrency and the metaverse are a learning curve for everyone, and it is still unclear where their use will lie in the future. Within the Metaverse, Liz says Mortar & More is designing spaces for their clients to educate and reach a much wider audience with the potential of using NFTs as a loyalty points system.

Elevate PR started its Future of series in 2020 hosting a range of virtual and online events that covered topics including content, retail, beauty and personal care, food, and media. All previous events can be viewed via the news section on Check back for updates on future events.