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THE FUTURE OF MALLS: Mobile Retail Will Have Two Means (Series 4 of 4)

Retail has been going mobile for a few years and the pace at which retail is becoming mobile is increasing. Yes, we can now pay for goods and services using our mobile devices and of course we can shop on our smartphones, but in the future we will see the integration between the retailer and the smartphone become nearly seamless.

In his article The Future of Shopping, Paco Underhill explains this concept by predicting that mobile retail in the future will have two means. First, no different than a door to a mall, our smartphones will be our door to e-commerce and our gateway to the vast array of e-commerce merchants. And second, retail will come to the shopper, and I am not talking about just getting emails from your favorite retailer but rather recommendations on specialized merchandise that are specifically tailored to you and your needs.

An example of this trend, albeit markedly less personalized now than it will be in the future, can already been seen in Dynamic Remarketing, which is the practice of displaying ads on websites you visit based on products or services viewed on other sites. Underhill takes this trend a step further, suggesting the future retail model will be “a new version of the peddler’s wagon that finds us at the beach, the football game or the street corner.” Said differently, imagine purchasing that perfect pair of earrings through Netflix while watching the latest episode of Orange Is the New Black or the Darth Vader Refrigerator you’ve had your eye on for your man cave from your Google Glasses during a Knicks game. What could be more fun?!

Yes, technology has begun to turn the retail model upside down, but I believe that retailers and shoppers alike should excitedly embrace the change. From a merchant’s perspective, retail business would thrive by offering customers highly specialized merchandise with good ol’ fashioned customer service, and what shopper would not appreciate a personalized great deal being delivered conveniently to a mobile device? And who knows what the future holds in the world of technology? One day we might even find ourselves purchasing our retail items conveniently from our seat on a tourist shuttle headed to the moon. Really, the future of retail holds endless possibilities and I personally cannot wait to see what’s next.

Source: www.wsj.com; by Paco Underhill.

Photo: www.wallcoo.net

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