What’s Next: Retail

Shopping as we know it is dead. Unsightly malls and big-box inefficiencies are giving way to a more sophisticated kind of retail as families and retirees increasingly trade the suburbs for city life, and digital tools seamlessly insinuate themselves into our daily rituals. “The world of retail is going to change more in the next ten years than it has in the previous two hundred,” says Paco Underhill, of the consumer-research and consulting firm Envirosell and author of the forthcoming book What Women Want.

ONE year:

UNDERUSED URBAN SPACES
“The evolution of the big box into urban spaces. One of the things that Apple, Best Buy, and Bed, Bath & Beyond have done a nice job with is having a fairly modest footprint on the street level and driving traffic down to ultracheap real estate in sub-basements and basements.” —P.U.

FIVE years:

MIXED USE
“When you look at the Time Warner Center [in New York] and places like Darling Harbor in Sydney, one of the things that you’re seeing is not a mall but an ‘all.’ You include commercial office space, residential housing, public buildings, public facilities, libraries, churches, schools—everything—all built into the same complex. It’s a much more creative meeting of public and private interests.” —P.U.

TEN years:

PERSONAL-SHOPPING BOTS
“You take your mobile phone into Ann Taylor, and you see a gorgeous blue pencil skirt. You scan it on your mobile phone, and your personal-shopping bot goes, ‘This matches the blouse that you bought three months ago.’ So you have something that keeps track of your wardrobe. It’s a much more creative use of advertising and the Internet as a way of getting you, at the point of sale, to open your pocketbook.” —P.U.

 
What’s Next: The 1-5-10 Issue
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Retail

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