Since the beginning of the year the retail sector has been encouraged by some brighter news.

The BRC has reported continued growth in some areas, particularly online, shop vacancy rates have fallen and retailers such as Waitrose and Dunelm have confirmed year-on-year sales growth. There’s also been recent news from Next and Ted Baker, who reported bumper pre-tax profits.

As we all continue to be encouraged by a slow but certain economic recovery, there’s no doubt that where retail is concerned, an exciting future lies ahead.

I’ve been doing a little crystal ball gazing, and here’s what I think we can expect to see more of as the year unfolds and we get closer to 2020.

A greater shift towards delivering an omni-channel experience will continue to transform the physical retail environment.

The days when it was enough to have a high street store acting in isolation will be a thing of the past. It will become less about one experience that’s shared across platforms, but more about the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts, with each individual platform delivering a rich and wonderful experience that plays to its strengths.

Among High Street retailers I’d expect to see more sensory experiences; from face-to-face interactions, shoppertainment and opportunities to touch, feel and play with goods, to promoting a sense of community in-store and feeling empowered to buy whether that be through self-service, instore or online.

The onslaught of showrooming has sparked the pricing debate, and I foresee more transparency with retailers embracing price matching and more equality across channels. It wouldn’t surprise me if we finally saw an end to the online discount. And possibly we could start to see the advent of the high street discount.

Here are my 10 favourite trends to watch…

1. Growth of brand communities in the retail space, following brand leaders such as Rapha and its popular Cycle Club
2. Shoppers will get more reasons to act with online photos, videos, reviews, pricing and social sharing easy to access while in-store
3. Use of the mobile wallet will continue to rise with mobile phone and contactless payment methods becoming more commonplace
4. Leveraging the click and collect opportunity and following the success of Tesco, John Lewis, Asda
5. Using the shopper journey to unite all channels, so shoppers get to buy how and when they want
6. The gamification of shopping is here with fitness brands engaging shoppers with apps that enable you to post runs to Facebook, get encouragement from friends, and set new challenges
7. Self service puts the shopper in charge with mobile boarding passes, product vending machines and self-service check outs all becoming normality
8. E-tailers are eyeing up the high street such as physical store projects with ebay and sofa.com
9. Pricing has already become transparent with showrooming commonplace
10. Shoppertainment will become a focal point of stores as they engage customers with events, demos and seminars

Sue Benson, managing director at The Market Creative