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What’s in store for IRL retail?

Blurred silhouette in store
Xianjuan HU/Unsplash
Nov 30, 2021 By WGSN Insider

As we enter what is traditionally the busiest time for retail in many world regions, our Create Tomorrow podcast shines a light on bricks and mortar stores, examining what brands and retailers are doing across the globe to lure consumers back to shopping IRL.

Our experts are joined by Ian McGarrigle, chairman of World Retail Congress*, to discuss what’s in store for IRL retail. We talked about what hybrids or strategies can businesses employ to play a part in creating thriving cities and retail hubs again? Or is there something else entirely new on the horizon? Tune in to find out.

Store as broadcast studio

“We’re going to see this convergence of the physical store and the digital world, so this idea of the store as a broadcast studio. We’ve been talking about it for a while, but I'm really excited to see how the shop floor is going to continue to be redesigned with broadcasting for live video in mind. The store is going to increasingly become a kind of content studio.” 
– Laura Saunter, Senior Strategist, Insight

Woman filming in a bookstore

Diversifying into new categories

“We’re at that point where retailers have to stop thinking that their brand can only sell the product that’s on their website, in their four walls, that they have relationships with customers as individuals or communities. This is going to be an interesting area to watch actually. How can you stretch your brand into creating a whole new different set of services?”
– Ian McGarrigle, chairman, World Retail Congress

Woman reaching for chocolate in supermarket
Allef Vinicius/Unsplash

Biophilia, coming to a mall near you

“I’m really interested in biophilic design and how that can be integrated into retail and store scapes. I’m excited about how stores of the future will be able to integrate nature and green space into what they offer – things like rooftops being converted into rewilding spaces or farms to grow the produce that then you can eat in restaurants in the mall.”
– Jo McGinn, Senior Strategist, City x City

*World Retail Congress is the leading event for leaders of today’s global retail industry, bringing together over 1,200 executives focused on the transformation of retail and in understanding how best to serve the consumer across all channels. The next event is April 5-7 in Rome, visit for more details.

To hear the full discussion tune in to Episode 38 of our Create Tomorrow podcast, What’s in store for IRL retail? on Anchor, Apple and Spotify.

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