The Future Of Retail

Experience + Revenue Per Sq. Ft.= Future of Retail

Amazon and online retail are changing the way we shop. Brick and mortar stores that do not offer a positive consumer experience are shuttering at what feels like an alarming rate. Shopping malls around the country are being torn down, repurposed and left behind.

In order to survive retail stores must adapt to create a consumer experience that is better than buying online

Here is a short list of businesses that are filing bankruptcy or shutting down many of their physical stores. The links below tell some of the story of each business’s store closings.

Radio Shack
Bebe Stores
-Payless Shoes
-Limited Stores
-HHGregg Inc
Gander Mountain
– Rue 21
-JC Penney
American Apparel
-Wet Seal
-K Mart
This year the WSJ estimates that over 8000 Retail stores will be closing their doors this year. Yet, not all retail is failing.

Why Apple is Winning in Retail

Apple is an exceptional example of the power of a quality retail experience. Across the brand at almost any Apple store you are greeted by employees who are passionate, knowledgeable and help you with your overall consumer experience.

Apple has a great return policy, provides in store classes for consumers of many skill levels, and keeps their stores clean, efficient and organized.

Have a problem with your Apple product? Set a time online and they will help you troubleshoot it for free.

The result is that Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world, and has the highest revenue per square foot of any retail chain (over $4,000 per square foot).

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Brands like Costco, Victoria Secret, and Dicks Sporting Goods provide consumers with experiences that you can’t get online.

Costco may be known for the ability to buy in bulk, but the in store consumer experience is surprisingly good. From free samples, to happy employees, to well put together product demonstrations Costco blends value with experience.

Engaging Communities

As human beings we desire to be a part of a group or tribe. Despite advances in technology human nature values face to face interactions and being part of a group.

Stores like Lululemon (an athletic clothing company) & Whole Foods do an outstanding job of engaging and supporting the local communities. Walk into a Lululemon and you will find pictures of local fitness instructors, yoga classes and passionate employees.

The grass roots approach to experience combined with a great product allows Lulu the ability to succeed in the current markets.

Whole Foods supports community events, and spends 5% of their days helping in communities.

Crafting a real sense of community and reaching out to influencers in local communities takes time, effort, knowledge and passion. It is a dynamic change from simply offering goods.

Surviving Future Retail

By having an experience and a product people want to buy, brick and mortar retail will move forward. The change is that offering a product alone is likely not enough to offset the costs of brick and mortar stores. By providing consumers with a memorable positive experience retail stores will continue to grow their brands.


  • Lionel Levine

    Excellent article! There’s no question that like with many aspects of our economy, retail is going to have to adapt and evolve in order to stay relevant. As brick and mortar retailers no-longer become essential catalysts to facilitating purchases, they have to figure out a means of staying relevant to consumers. The examples you provided are great ones of this push for additional value. You see a similar evolution with movie theaters where increasing competition from other media formats has forced the industry to adapt by improving the quality of the experience for film goers. Ultimately I think this is excellent news for consumers as it promises to offer improved experiences all around.