The true measure of retail’s direction is the attention focused on the technologies that provide the most serendipity. Physical retail will always have its place and online retail will likely never be the majority of all sales velocity. But consider this question:
If you were starting a brand right now, where would you go for serendipity?
Foot traffic has long been the ultimate measure of a merchant’s viability. According to the National Museum of American History, “scribes performing calculations moved small stones or metal tokens along lines.” In the 19th century, mechanical counters were patented. By the 20th century, pressure mats, infrared beams, thermal counters, and wifi foot traffic analysis empowered retailers to understand more about consumer behavior. What happens when physical foot traffic is in peril? It’s incumbent upon the retail industry to redefine their audiences, find new ones, and encourage the development of tools around converting audiences into consumers.
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