More to Do, Less to Buy

3 minute read


‘Twas the holiday season, when all through the outlet mall  
Not a creature was stirring, not even a shopper’

The traditional holiday, in-store shopping experience has since been replaced with digital orders and in-store pickups.


Retail chains, especially big box stores, are rapidly disappearing. And in its place, consumers are embracing Amazon and various e-commerce markets.

Since its birth in 1962, discount big box retail stores like Walmart, Target, and Kohls have dominated the holiday shopping market. Walmart has become notorious for its meme-worthy Black Friday outbursts and Target has shown long lines of pajama dressed consumers camping outside its stores. Recently; however, the holiday shopping chaos has died down and has shifted into a more convenient e-commerce market like Amazon.


Exceptionally courageous leader and Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos says that his company's $1 trillion success comes from bold moves and fearless decisions.

We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
— Jeff Bezos

Take note big box stores:

It would be wise to adhere to Bezos three big ideas: customer experience, inventions, and patience.


The life expectancy of the future of retail lies in the future of the customer experience and the fulfillment of expectations. Customers are shifting their focus from “More, Cheaper, Better” (i.e., Walmart) to “Customized, Intelligent, Now” (i.e., Warby Parker, Apple). In order to satisfy present and future consumer expectations, purchases must be influenced by both the customized offline and online shopping experience/s.

Customized fit

Places like Warby Parker are merging the online and offline realms in order to provide an ‘online concierge’ service. The service allows for much more than simple online purchases with an in-store pickup – it promises its consumer with a customized shopping experience, complete with their own store associate whose sole duty it is to act as their chic, data-oriented decision maker.


Learn from Experience

With great customization comes great experience. The key to creating a successful experiential retail store is to give shoppers more to do and less to buy. Experiential shopping is more than offering a small wine bar inside of the store; it’s about offering a memorable and interactive experience worth reliving. 

Apple Stores have long been a pioneer in experiential retail. Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s new head of retail, says that retail should be and will be 80% experience and 20% shopping. Ahrendts plans to develop “Today at Apple,” which is an in-store educational seminars and activities.

We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level.”
— Angela Ahrendts

It's no longer shopping; it’s interactive storytelling. Creating a personalized and experiential shopping environment is critical for the customer, but maintaining that environment requires strategic research and invention.


According to the recent Zebra Retail Vision Study, 72% of retailers plan to reinvent their supply chains with real-time visibility enabled by sensors, automation, and analytics. It is projected that data-capturing scanners within stores warehouses will work simultaneously with new, in-store smart sensors in order to display product availability and enable fast shipping or pickup.


Moreover, in 2020, 5G wireless networks are expected to project radio signals with a lower latency, allowing for drone deliveries as well as deliveries by self-driving/autonomous trucks.


Developing a mobile data collection platform will pave the way for retail execution apps, which will provide business leaders with the realtime tools and analytics they need to cultivate strong and successful in-store retail strategies.


Patience is not an easy word to achieve, especially when working in an evolving, consumer-driven retail market. However, with the help of technology – patience is possible. Once customer expectations have been met and technical innovations are in motion, then all that's left is to look and listen.

The branding process can be determined by two factors: economic capital, or how much money people have and can spend, and cultural capital, or what people’s interests are. Simply put, people are attracted to culture and economic development. Be patient and let the customers do the advertising. Consumer generated social media content has been proven to improve the economic development of not only a brand, but a community as well.

Whether you decide to shop in store or online, Vista Growth would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy holidays!

‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.’

Interested in placemaking and placebranding? We encourage you to stop by Vista HQ and pick up a copy of One Place or order it online

Do you have a dream or vision that you'd like to explore? If so, we’d enjoy having a conversation with you. Please    email    Steve Beshara to schedule a conversation.

Do you have a dream or vision that you'd like to explore? If so, we’d enjoy having a conversation with you. Please email Steve Beshara to schedule a conversation.

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