Stores Are Becoming Distribution Points.

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The future of shopping isn’t as straightforward as buying everything online. While there’s no question ecommerce is exploding—Amazon just surpassed Walmart as the world’s biggest retailer—traditional brick-and-mortar brands are getting smarter about integrating online efforts with their physical outlets. A recent survey by The Guardian of 2,500 shoppers found “90% of respondents say they prefer to buy from a brick-and-mortar store, viewing shopping as a form of entertainment rather than a purely utilitarian exercise.”

Other statistics and trend studies support the point of view that customers are significantly more likely to buy when able to see, feel and try on merchandise. The thriving shopping areas 25 years from now will focus on a unique experience that can’t be duplicated online. This can either be done through innovative technologies or by offering the unexpected.

“My advice to retailers is they need to start looking at their stores…not as product distribution vehicles but experience distribution vehicles.” Doug Stephens, Retail industry futurist

What are some examples? “The Beach in Dubai combines shopping, the sea and an outdoor cinema. The Siam Paragon Mall in Thailand includes language schools, a cooking school and an aquarium. And another project in Dubai plans to expand on the country’s already extravagant retail properties by building the world’s largest mall. Called ‘Mall of the World’, it’s expected to take up 8 million square feet and house the world’s largest indoor theme park, wedding halls and a wellness district that offers one-day surgeries.” —CNBC

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