The Future Of Retail Explored
By Michael Ellis, Co-Founder, Managing Principal, 5+Design
With the onset of internet shopping, and the subsequent pressure on physical stores to compete, the retail industry has seen a large number of long term trends emerge from out of this dichotomy. This is easily seen in the rise of emphasis placed on value and luxury as the two dominant sectors in retail.
But one trend more hotly contested and trail blazing is the power of brands (and collections of brands), and the pressure these brands are putting on retail developers to ensure that their interests are being represented. It’s long since known that developers have held the majority of the decision-making power, allotting the last say in what takes place within their retail spaces largely to themselves.
This power structure is seemingly getting turned on its ear as the power that individual retailers are yielding grows in strength. Herein lies the precipice of the future of retail. This future will be about convergence — bringing together the powerful new forces unleashed by the internet with more local, more competitive, and highly customer-focused physical retail environments.
From the design point, the future will look like a mash-up of national retailers and unique local stores, harkening back to the duality of value and luxury. Retail’s future will interlace together the very fundamentals of good design where the driving point is on delivering greater convenience and a more fulfilling shopping experience.
Fundamental change, exacerbated by the internet, is affecting the retail industry and that is neither a surprise nor an understatement. This is exemplified by the amount of online shopping that has grown in the last several years and is projected to become even stronger in the years to come — particularly in Asian countries. This trend has created a certain amount of concern amongst shopping center developers due to the fear that traditional retail is under attack. Internet experts like Marc Andreessen help to build this concern with their predictions about the death of traditional retail, even though e-Commerce is still far behind traditional retail in terms of sales.