Shopping in the future

Imagine that you are walking in the city center of Rotterdam in the year 2020. A hungry feeling makes you decide to have lunch, so you use your mobile phone to see if there is any nice place to go. A personal profile shows you five restaurants and you decide to pick the one with best recommendations. During lunch you check the newest trends in the online stores and place them in your own shopping list, which results in the shortest route you can walk this afternoon. You pay by using your mobile phone and walk across the street to the first store. During shopping, recommendations of stores nearby pop-up on your screen based on your personal profile. Unfortunately, the article is not available anymore and you scan the product with your shopping app. This evening, the product will be sent home. Shopping in 2020 will be a total different experience than it is today.

As the story describes, shopping experiences will change over the coming years because of the change in needs and possibilities of consumers1,2,3. Consumers want to have the possibility to buy products every moment of the day and the Internet will be of importance in this change2,3. The introduction of applications on mobile phones facilitates this1, and will be the basis for the future shopping experience. Research shows that cross channel retail is an upcoming trend in the future retail industry1,2,4 (figure 1).

figure 1

Figure 1. Change of consumer behavior on online and offline purchases. Blue: Online purchase; Brown: Offline purchase; Green: Cross channel4

Cross channel retailing covers the group of customers who buy products online and offline4. This shopping process will have two different phases. The first phase is the orientation phase, where most people will use online tools to look for different brands of the same product1,4. Product reviews are very important. Today, more than 54% of the online consumers trust the experience of other consumers, and 42% trust reviews more than information of the store manager itself1. This ‘word of mouse’ (from ‘word of mouth’) gives all the information a consumer needs during this phase1,4, except one! It is difficult to judge the product, which is one of the benefits of offline purchase4 and is one of the reasons why offline purchase is still a big market1,4. The second phase is buying the product. The expected trend is that more people will buy products online1,2,3, with the motivation that it is fast, possible at any time of the day and always available4.

Because of the growth of online retail, the total stores in the city center will decline. If more people shop online the revenue of every store decreases, a trend which already started in 2001. Expected is that there will be 20% less shops in the city center in the year of 20201. The use of mobile phones will increase. This indicates that the shopping centers of the future will be a total different experience than it is today. More personal recommendations, payment by using your mobile phone1,2, but will the offline shop disappear? You still want to know how your new shirt fits right?…

Thomas (400487)


  1. CBW-MITEX and HBD (2010). Onderzoek Retail2020. Consulted on: May 15th, 2014. Retrieved from:
  2. Inretail (2014). Het nieuwe winkelen: de trends. Consulted on: May 15th, 2014.
  3. Jongejan, J. (2013). Hoe shopt de consument in 2020? Frankwatching. Consulted on: May 15th, 2014.
  4. ABN-AMBRO (2011). De consument van 2015. Cross Channel Retail. Consulted on: May 15th, 2014.

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