‘I have just read a summary of what will happen in the future. It is exciting but also a little scary. It suggests that retailers have to change. Maybe retail will be more automated or maybe we will have less dense strip-malls. It certainly will be less people intensive as companies adopt the use of more advanced AI (Artificial Intelligence) to anticipate needs and enable automated delivery.’ BARE shares an article by Walter Loeb for Forbes on the future of retail.

‘Let’s look at some facts. Consider what the automobile industry will look like.

  1. Car manufacturers are switching to electric cars.
  2. As a result, in the next 15 years auto repair shops will disappear.
  3. Gasoline/diesel engines have 20,000 parts whereas electric cars have only 20 parts.
  4. That will mean repairs can be done by dealers in 10 minutes; they will no longer need a repair shop.
  5. Engines will increasingly be repaired by robots.
  6. Gasoline pumps will fade away and cars will be recharged by meters at street corners.
  7. Autonomous cars will have fewer accidents – according to several studies – making insurance costs cheaper.

This is just an example of what the future will look like when car makers change to electric cars and give us a cleaner environment. We will have to adapt to a new way.

We have to look at other potential changes that can happen:

  1. The food industry will sell their assortment from automated stations that are replenished by computers.
  2. Cars will drive up to a drive-through unit with number of windows that will open so shoppers can select and help themselves to fruits, vegetables, canned goods, cereals, milk, etc. The customer will have a pre—bought ID that lets her shop, and she will receive a receipt at the end.
  3. Retailers will revert to open-air shopping centers. Customers, who are still scared of pandemic restrictions, will be able to drive up and select merchandise in open air – and less threatening – environments. The closed mall as we know it today, except for major AA malls, will disappear.
  4. Successful chain retailers will enhance the shopping experience by making e-commerce, even easier; sites will be more sophisticated, offer better delivery points, and operate with shopping center cooperation, etc.
  5. E-commerce will thrive and manufacturers’ direct-to-customer sales will flourish. Manufacturers will show a greater assortment and should be able to assure customers of faster delivery.
  6. Some of the key shopping services that customers will rely on include Uber UBER-1.1%, Instacart, TaskRabbit, Shipt, Walmart Groceries, Amazon Fresh AMZN -1.3%, FreshDirect, Safeway, Hungryroot, Thrive Market, Peapod, and Boxed. Some are likely to combine, others may diversify to include furniture and other hard goods. In most cases, their use will help customers avoid going shopping.
  7. Automation and AI will be more frequently used and redefine all aspects of lives. The library will automate its services and use of coal will disappear as we electrify our homes.

While the list is long, it could be much longer as I see fewer people working at today’s daily tasks. This new way of living demands that we look to our government to develop programs for rebuilding infrastructure to support the changes. We will need better roads, faster communication, and better rail service to mention just a few improvements.

The future of retailing can be very exciting. We have to look to the future as an opportunity to introduce newness rather than feel threatened by abandoning tradition. We must embrace change because the times demand it. It will be different and challenging as we create new jobs for people. But the results will be rewarding and creative. It is up to us to insure we move in the right direction.’

Read the original article in full here.


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