If you want to be happy, recent research suggests, you should spend your money on experiences, not things.
It’s a wise sentiment, with income being a limited resource and all. You work hard for your paycheck. You want to get the most out of it.
On the other hand: Shopping is fun!
Thanks to the Internet, consumers can make a conscious decision to shop smarter and make more-informed purchases that aren’t based solely on whatever the lowest price point is.
And in a few years, it’s only going to get better.
We asked a few of our Most Innovative Companies in Retail for predictions about what the future of buying stuff looks like. Here’s what shopping—both online and off—will look like in five short years.
THE RETURN OF THE MALL RAT
The mall is practically a rite of passage for cool teens cultivating a social life. But with brick-and-mortar on a decline, malls will need to look beyond the RadioShacks, Aeropostales, and Cinnabons to stay busy.
Enter Westfield Labs, a San Francisco-based entity that is working to rethink what malls are capable of, often with a sprinkle of digital savvy. “Brick and mortar provides a place for brands to interact and connect with their customers in a way not always possible online,” Westfield Labs’ chief digital officer Kevin McKenzie wrote in an email. “It allows them to give a physical face and presence to their brand and to be a part of local communities.
While sometimes a shopper just wants to make a purchase, other times they want to see, touch, and experience a product before making a purchasing decision, or maybe even just be inspired.” (It’s that sort of thinking that’s powered subscription box services like Birchbox—and our country’s growing obsession with such retail experiences.)
Part of that in-real-life retailing requires taking pressure off the shops—and minimizing risks like expensive rent.