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In the Future of Retail, Stores May Become Obsolete

Most retail outlets — whether brick-and-mortar shops, digitally enhanced stores like Macy’s in the U.S. and Burberry in the U.K., or online stores — assume a traditional three-stage consumption model. The customer experiences a need, shops to satisfy it and then consumes or uses the product.

Retail vocabulary reflects this model and assumes that shopping is the central component. Marketers talk about shopping trips, shopping baskets, shopping lists and destination trips. What’s more, current practice still rests on the idea that many purchasing decisions are made in the store — whether physical or online. So brands engage in an arms race of persuasion and hard-sell tactics (prices, promotions and presence) to sway the customer...

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