Connect with the Future

Future Talk with trend researcher Dr. David Bosshart, CEO, GDI and retail expert Marcus Wild, CEO, SES

Drone-delivery, hand-picked products from the local corner store, or homemade products …What will future consumers really want? Where would they like to shop, and what would they like to buy?

As a trend researcher, how do you outline the consumer of the future and his shopping habits? What do you not believe will happen, contrary to all previous forecasts?

David Bosshart: It is not the brick-and-mortar trade that is dying, but today’s formats. They must be able to adapt much more quickly to changing customer needs. On the one hand, this means that everything to do with convenience and rapid satisfaction of needs will become increasingly important. Fast, easy, comfortable, and portable. On the other hand, we can see the Disneyfication of the food trade, including production plants, retail, and a great deal of gastronomy. To put it bluntly: There isn’t much left in the middle.

Retail equals change: Is everything in a flow of change?

Marcus Wild: It is no longer a flow, but a rapid torrent. The number of traditional retailers, the majority of which were found in centers and downtown areas 15 years ago, is dwindling. Today, they only make up 10 to 15%. Consumer behavior has also completely changed: Social media has had an influence on this, especially with regard to purchasing decisions.

What must future retail properties offer, and what will consumers require from a shopping center?

David Bosshart: Flexibility and an experience tailored to one’s needs. The consumer no longer wants a standardized store feeling, which is interchangeable. Therefore, low fixed costs and innovative strength are becoming more important. Even luxury hotels are building short-term pop-up stores in unimaginable locations in order to offer a new brand experience and attract new customers. The experience goes where the customers are – it’s no longer the other way around.

What is the role of the brick-and-mortar shop?

Marcus Wild: It serves as the “fake-free”, original, unadulterated brand message and will remain the most important communication and distribution channel in the future. From the fragrance of the store to the music and the shop design: All of this transports the message and makes it perceptible by all senses. The location has become the medium. It influences moods and emotions far better than print or digital media. It defines how one experiences a brand. A real, tangible social platform in a digital world. This includes the offering of spur-of-the-moment food in an appealing atmosphere as well as the desire to test new trends on site.