Episode 17: The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Retail

Confidential Retail Client. Photo © IA Interior Architects.
Confidential Retail Client. Photo by Kevin Savva.

Futurist and GDR CEO Kate Ancketill shares what Web 4.0 may mean to the future of retail, service, and the built environment.

PrintRetail isn’t going away.

People like to socialize in retail environments. That experience will be more experiential, and incorporate meetups, community, education, theater, fun—the “boring stuff” will be delivered online.

If we’re talking about online for retail:

We’re thinking of cognitive computing impact, and we’ll see chat bots replacing customer service channels, taking over support services. Within two-to-five years, bots will be the primary service channels from brand to consumer.

We don’t need large stores anymore.

A tendency towards smaller stores is, in part, due to the endless aisle.* There’s less of a need for inventory to stock stores. We have more sophisticated ways of clicking and collecting, so only particular products must be available when you walk into a store.

Physical spaces need to integrate with experience.

More recently it’s dawned on everyone that augmented reality (AR) is not just for PokeomonGo: Physical space is just one manifestation of reality and we can design many more layers.


*Jargon alert: Endless Aisle

Remember when you couldn’t take photos in stores? Now you’re encouraged to take pictures, and send them to those who can’t physically shop with you: We shop with mobile devices in hand, often with an idea, or photo, of what we’re shopping for somewhere easily accessible. If you come to the associate, table, iWatch, or phone with an image of the product you’d like to buy, they can access inventory outside of store, conduct your transaction, and have it delivered; all through click and collect.

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