History of Retail 100 Objects


We invite you to explore the “History of Retail” as seen through 100 objects that have had a profound impact on the way retail has developed through the ages.

And looking ahead, we present a collection of future objects that will innovate the retail industry and transform the way we shop.

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The future is not
what it used to be.

We find ourselves in an amazing time. Our science and technology have progressed to the point where what we build is only limited by our own imaginations. No longer do we need to sit back and passively accept the future. We can build it.

To envision the future of Retail we used a process called ‘futurecasting’. It’s a mix of social science, technical research, economics, statistical data, global interviews and even a little science fiction. The goal of the process is to create a realistic, fact based vision for the future that we can then go and build.

To best explain the future of Retail we developed a framework to illuminate each part of the shopping experience. We broke the experience into three sections: The Face of Retail, The Bones of Retail, The Brains of Retail. The following nine objects gives us a glimpse of the Retail future not yet invented.

Face of Retail

Whether it’s browsing in a store or clicking through a web site, the Face of Retail captures what we will all see when we shop. How will the physical and visual experience of shopping grow and evolve with the introduction of new technologies and gadgets?

Bones of Retail

Underneath the visible world lies a vast and complex network that enables the world of retail. These infrastructures and supply chains are the engines of the industry; fueled by innovation and striving for efficiency.

Brains of Retail

Retail has always had Big Data but with increasing computational intelligence the industry will become smarter and more responsive than ever. The Brains of Retail will open up new opportunities, enriching the experience of shoppers and deepening the connection to employees.

Early Trading
18th and 19th Century
20th and 21st Century
The Future