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Blog
05 November, 2013

Blog Exhibition ‘City of the Future’

“What will be the role of pop-up retailers in the city of the future?”

9697ae9c738a29c3056e55f1d82d719eThe retail sector is struggling. The economic crisis, online competition and changing consumer expectations call for adaptability and creativity. Skeptics even believe there will be no room for retailers in the future. Personally, I am convinced we will always need retail, right now and in the future. We can only guess and try to predict, however, in which way the retail landscape is going to develop.

The exhibition ‘City of the Future’, which was showing in the Museon in The Hague, visualizes the way we will probably live in the future, how we will work, recreate and transport ourselves. There is a strong focus on projects by artists and designers. In many cases, these projects look simple and easy, but the underlying concept is always inspiring. There are projects on mobility and the smart use of space, but there are also projects on the themes of waste and sustainability, sport and recreation, and projects that purely provide inspiration for better and more livable cities.

97b18cc3e772535aa21135b5453ea76fThis exhibition doesn’t pay much attention to retail in general. However, the exhibition as a whole gives a good impression on the themes of today and the future. I expect that the main theme for retail and hospitality is mobility. In the future, entrepreneurs don’t want to settle on one fixed location only. And the consumer wants convenience, simplicity, get surprised and the possibility to buy wherever it suits. I strongly believe mobile concepts are part of the future. For example, one time you can find an Illy coffee bar with people serving fresh coffee from a converted shipping container. The next time, at the same place there might be a converted school bus in which a fashion designer shows his or her latest creations. All depending on the target group and location.

a9bd484077050cee1b10f3064c4a563bDoes this mean the end for shopping areas? No, social cohesion and meeting places remain very important. But similar changes will occur here as well. The businesses will no longer establish themselves in the same shop for years. Pop-up shopping areas will arise while after several weeks the entrepreneurs close their doors in order to make way for new retail initiatives. Or entrepreneurs settle for a short period at a specific location and move after a certain period of time.

Of course, these changes will not take place overnight, this will be a gradual process and we find ourselves now in the first phase. Pop-up concepts appear slowly in the streets. But the challenges for the near future are twofold. On one hand, entrepreneurs should be better facilitated to start a pop-up concept. Permits, flexible leases, solutions for easy transportation of stock and the ability to setup a pop-up concept quickly are some of the “problems” which have to be solved. On the other hand, awareness from retailers is always needed.
The retail landscape has changed forever. Even after the economic crisis, the traditional retail will still have a hard time. Purely because consumers no longer want the same offer of products all the time and anywhere. Quite often shopping areas are too similar, not attractive or experience in customer-service is lacking in many places. Partly because of this people prefer the Webshop.

Is there space for retailers in the city of the future? Yes, but only when the retailer is able to offer the consumer a unique experience. Are you searching for more inspiration regarding the city of the future and the expectations about retail developments? Especially about your role as retailer and how your retail concept can look like? Please send a message to info@preneurl.com and we will contact you. We look forward to meet you.

Monique Plantinga