Decoding Tomorrow:
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What does the Future of Retail look like?

24 Sep 2014

G'day, Anders Sorman-Nilsson here futurist, and occasional chief strategist at Georg Sorman, an old school family business that's been in our family since 1916. 

Today we've done our autumn shoot here at the Stables Co-op in Surry Hills in Sydney. It got me to reflect on the fact that the future of retail is constantly shifting.

Click below to see the full video now.

The future of retail at the Stables recently featured in Monocle magazine, as one of the coolest mini malls around the world, highlights to me that the retail experience needs to shift to be fundamentally relevant in the future. We've all heard about the digital disruption of retail impacting us around the world, be that Borders is going out of business, Blockbuster going out of business, and online retail is even being displaced over the last few years. We're also seeing online retailers like I've reflected on in my book "Digilogue: How to Win the Digital Minds and Analogue Hearts of Tomorrow's Customers." really looking to the kind of bricks and mortar world to reach out to wear their - in a sense analogue hearts on their sleeves, reaching out to consumers around the world, to try and kind of give a sense that even online retailers have a human and analogue soul. I'm thinking here of Mr. Porter, for example, publishing a magazine or a newspaper reaching out in the real world, and then asking us to buy stuff online. What are bricks and mortar retailers to do? Well, one good example is here where we've shot the Georg Sorman calendar for 2014. The Stables in Sydney was voted, as I mentioned, by Monocle Magazines to be one of the coolest kind of concept stores around.


We're sitting here in the café portion of a place in Surry Hills, close to where I used to live in Sydney, that is a mix of café, mix of bar. We've got a publisher upstairs. And of course, the retail presence out the front. But it shows you that a retail place is more and more of a showroom, a concept store somewhere where we like to hang out, where we like to have some food. And I think what really is the key for retailers in the future is to make sure that linger about. The digital experience of convenience, speed, customer reviews, recommendations, and the kind of Amazon style recommendations of people like you who bought this item, also like this. That kind of cross-selling actually elevates our expectations on the consumer experience. So that once consumers do invest the time to go into a place like the Stables, they actually do have very, very high expectations on the customer experience. And they want to be wowed when they hang out in a space like this, where you can really hang out for a whole day, exploring various facets of consumer retail, the media, as well as some really, really good food.

That's a little bit of food for thought for retailers as you think about how you want to create a space and place where people hang out, so that you don't lose all your business to the online disruptions.

Do you have a favourite retail place? we would love to hear where this is and why.

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