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Redefining retail

Florent Depoisier

Managing Director

J. Walter Thompson

Florent.Depoisier@jwt.com

 

What if the future of selling was not about trying to sell? What if the most important thing about a store was not the range of stock, but the quality of the experience? We are witnessing an unprecedented digital revolution in retail and already, in 2017, retail is coming to be defined by immersion and authenticity. Think of Samsung 837, the "digital playground" of the Korean brand in New York, which sells nothing. The 5,000-sqm space serves only as a showcase of "Samsung culture" and as a test area for users. Then there’s Alibaba, whose the online shopping site will allow the validation of a purchase using just a nod from the shopper, thanks to virtual reality.

Sephora Flash and Amazon Go are also demonstrating consumers' interest in a radically different retail model; product-free boutiques are spreading across all domains, signaling that traditional retail must be rethought.

The store of the future will no longer sell. It will simply deliver sensations enriched by a digital experience. What consumers seek is authenticity. Brands must anticipate precisely their needs, and be where they want to go. The sale can happen at another time or place.