In the Future, Everything Will Be a Coffee Shop:  A Q&A with Stephen Gordon, Part 2

Following up on yesterday's blog, we continue our conversation about the future of retailing with Stephen Gordon. He thinks coffee shops will replace many retail stores, as well as universities and offices. The Shreveport attorney and prescient commentator predicts some bold scenarios about how online commerce will soon trump many traditional retail locations in his controversial piece “In the Future, Everything Will Be a Coffee Shop" in The Speculist and reprinted in The Boston Globe.

Food for thought as you ponder tough decisions around omni-channel touch points for your customers, how to differentiate yourself on more than price, and whether mobile in-time advertising is the right way to reach your customers, both current and potential.

Buxton: If the future of retailing is experiential, why isn’t touching and trying on clothes categorized as such? Won’t shoppers still want to see how things look on them? Where do you buy your shirts?

Gordon: Sometimes people pay extra for an experience they call shopping but is really something more: shopping on Rodeo Drive or at Tiffany's. Of all the dollars I've spent in my life — that sort of shopping represents a tiny fraction. I suspect that's the case for most people not named Paris Hilton, and will continue to be the case in the future.

Clothing — you can do a lot of clothing shopping online: Here's Amazon's clothing store.

If the shipping is free via Amazon Prime and exchanges are easy, many people will risk buying something online that might not fit. And local stores can compete on this: "You know leaving our store that it fits." Also: "You'll have what you want today, not in two days." But here's the thing: The local stores will be competing with businesses that don't have the same overhead and employee costs. It will be more expensive — and, therefore, a bit of a luxury that we will normally do without.

Buxton: Do you own stock in Starbucks or any other coffee companies? Should we?

Gordon: I own a mutual fund that includes a tiny piece of Starbucks, I think.  Please allow me a pass on giving stock advice.

Want to continue the conversation on how analytics can help you navigate rough retail terrain? Grab a coffee and contact us.

Journey Awareness Persona C-Suite/Finance Retail