Experiential retailing is coming online.

In the brick and mortar world, Tesla, Warby Parker, and Peloton use their commercial and retail locations as showrooms that drive their online sales channels. Without the need to store inventory, retail space can be used much more efficiently.

We are seeing merchants that are converting part or all of their brick and mortar stores into studios. From everything from fish aquariums to plant nurseries, part of their operating hours are now dedicated to live sales where they can reach customers that would never be able to visit them in-person.

We believe new retail locations will be purpose-built for consumers that are trained to expect features like online ordering and optimization for social media. Flexibility is key. For instance, it is likely that rather than multi-year leases, businesses of the future might utilize “micro-leases” that last days or even hours to do their live sales.

Even the online equivalent is getting dated. For decades, we’ve had these static online catalogs with no interaction. At best a shopper can click to watch a video of the product. At worst, it’s the same experience as the early 2000’s.

Online shopping is still a very cold experience compared to in-store shopping. Customers can’t examine a product in their hands or try it on a fitting room, but video hosts can demonstrate it for them online.

Try to fast forward a decade to imagine what e-commerce will be like in 2030. A static Shopify storefront will seem outdated. You would expect a completely interactive experience. And it might not happen on a standalone site. It might not even happen on Facebook. We do know they will be highly immersive online experiences that blend online shopping, entertainment, and human connection.