As e-shopping eats into the markets previously dominated by traditional shops and stores, what will the retail store of the future look like? Are the malls and the arcades a relic of the last century? What does it mean for our towns and cities?
A new article on a specialist retailing website suggests that in the USA the spending patterns of the “millennials” – the 18-36 years olds – is crucial. They are the largest generation in US history and they have been nurtured on digital technologies. To tempt them to shop inside a building, “consumer facing technology” is needed. For example, this can involve using an app to steer the customer around a store or interactive displays.
The future of shops and shopping centres will also be shaped by where these millennials choose to live. At the moment they seem to be turning their backs on the suburbs and aspiring to urban living. This is making some retailers and developers rethink their love affair with suburban malls.
Maureen McAvey from the Urban Land Institute says “Customers are interested in shopping small, shopping near to where they live and where they work”. Big box retailers are adapting their premises accordingly. In the US, as here in the UK, there is also a notable shift to local store becoming he place where you pick up the goods that you ordered online. this in turn will mean a reconfiguration of sales and storage space and has implications for transport and logisitics.