Retail Environments Insights Center
can deliver all of this and more!
• Trend Setting Products • Insightful News
• Industry Commentary • Innovation Trends
• Forward-Thinking Projects
Broaden your industry knowledge at
Resource center Ad.indd 2 10/20/15 2: 22 PM
Untitled- 1 1 9/25/15 3:45PM
In Little’s white paper and documentary Customer Experience Future Shock, we predicted
that retail of 2025 will be radically different. The convergence of Web 3.0, gaming, haptic tech, 3D printing, and big data will usher in fully immersive online virtual retail.
To jump ahead another 50 years is mind boggling, given the accelerated pace of change
that could bring us to virtual retail in just 10 years. Many credible futurists suggest
that we will pass beyond “the Singularity” before 2075 (e.g., a trans-human condition,
massive increases in intelligence, breakneck acceleration in the pace of change, etc.),
so clearly, all bets are off.
But at the very least, stores will be replaced by “maker shops,” where advanced
3D printers will allow for near infinite co-creation. Brands will exist more as branded
experiences than they will be for products since near infinite co-creation will destroy
the standards that branded products require. Perhaps the showroom will remain, but
will stores need to be stocked with product? Perhaps we’ll still need grocery stores,
but will homemade 3D printed hamburgers taste good by then?
Our need for stores will derive not from a necessity to buy what’s unavailable online,
but more likely from our compulsion to compare and weigh options firsthand. We need
to be with and see each other, including strangers, to have a balanced outlook and tangible worldview. We need “reality,” and even if technology advances to the point where
we don’t require the real thing, we’ll still want it. Because that’s what it is to be human.
Then again, those trans-humans may turn their smell sensors up in the air and
control-alt-delete shopping altogether.
• BRUCE A. BARTELDT JR., AIA, LEED BD+C
• partner and global practice leader of retail • Little P h o