The future of retail

What will the shops of tomorrow look like?

by Mustafa Khanwala

Online shopping is booming. Between 2012 and 2017, the share of the overall non-food market purchased online soared from 11.6% to 24.1%. As sites such as Amazon and Asos enjoy seemingly unstoppable growth, the likes of Toys ‘R’ Us are falling by the wayside.

So, does this spell the end for bricks and mortar shops? No – but it does mean that retailers are facing a lot of big and bold decisions about the roles their stores play. Here are some lessons for the bricks and mortar stores of tomorrow:

All about the experience

Thousands of retail businesses around the world are puzzling over how to connect with the smartphone-addicted millennial generation. But millennials aren't just online shoppers. A recent report by JP Morgan suggests that 40% of millennials still see physical stores as their primary way to shop and 80% of all shopping is still done in stores. The performance of these stores isn't just down to product or price, but the experience of the customer before, during and after the purchase. This creates a dilemma – consumer demands are increasing, but the margins of retailers are shrinking as wages and costs also increase. The answer is to blend the benefits of the digital world with the offline experience. Retailers can no longer see offline and online worlds as separate.

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