Visions of the Future

Bricks-and-mortar retailing has a future. But if the pundits are right, it will look and feel very different than it does today.

In the future… 

‘Stores will be multifaceted, able to communicate in more relevant ways. They will share control with the shopper, for a closer connection to what’s going on in your life.’—Lee Carpenter, chairman and CEO, Interbrand North America and Design Forum

‘The store of the future is not a store at all. It’s a social happening that is mobile, sustainable, and all about entertainment. It’s power brand accessibility to the young experimental set, where the art, design and style scene explodes into an immersive live event. It’s edgy and reinvents itself, revolutionizing the retail industry with a phat focus on relevance. ’ —Steve McGowan, VP, managing creative director, FRCH Design Worldwide

‘Stores may not be stores. They will be places where people try products, customize them, make them more eco-friendly, create a special scent or size “just for me.” And then, either the retailer can create an extra dozen items to sell to others “just like them” on eBay—or the consumer will go home and auction the outfit/merchandise they just replaced.’—Ken Nisch, chairman, JGA

‘Stores of the future will be about experience and social connections. They will shatter borders and delight the senses with a global perspective, linking vibrant new communities with technology, shared style, and attitudes.’—Brian Shafley, president and creative director, Chute Gerdeman Retail

‘Stores will be the social meccas that they are today and were in the past. Ever-changing technology will help to reduce the less desirable functions of the retail experience such as fitting rooms and checkout lines, allowing the customer to encounter a more gratifying and convenient shopping experience. ’—Fred Margulies, director of marketing, Herschman Architects

‘Stores will not look anything like they look now. This time for real. With the eventual proliferation of megaease, mega-fun shopping online (think voice recognition, avatar try-on and virtual stimulation), stores will have to take on the dimension of experience full force in new old ways: smart, lovely people to talk to, wonderful things to touch and try, incredible visual media and only the newest of the new to gaze at [remember when stores were like that?]. Hurry up, future. ’—Lee Peterson, VP, brand and creative services, WD Partners