Future of Brick-and-Mortar Commerce <br> The Shopping of Tomorrow

Future of Brick-and-Mortar Commerce
The Shopping of Tomorrow

The SIX white paper identifies the key characteristics that will define customer journeys around brick-and-mortar places in the future and, as a result, longer-term future business opportunities that may arise for retail banks in this context.

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The Background

Digitalization continues to gather pace in the retail sector, particularly since the outbreak of COVID-19. Is there a future for traditional retail and what does it look like? Why are more and more online retailers opening physical stores? Is offline the new online? The SIX White Paper "Future of Brick-and-Mortar Commerce" offers orientation in an industry that is currently undergoing fundamental transformation.

It explores the entire shopping and spending journey from what happens before entering a brick-and-mortar place, what happens while visiting it, to what happens after leaving it. The white paper also examines business opportunities that may arise for retail banks in the context of brick-and-mortar commerce while keeping in mind their existing capabilities and the changing competitive landscape.

Setting the Stage: The Evolving Competitive Landscape Surrounding Retail Banks

New players increase competition in all traditional retail-banking products/services, from bank accounts, to payment solutions, currency-exchange services, external financing, and wealth-management solutions. Not only because more service providers vie for the same customer, but also because they oftentimes raise the innovation bar in terms of user experience and fees (e.g., no-fee offerings via better cost structures or novel revenue streams).

Getting Crowded in Here

Competition is increasing at the product and service level. New digital technologies and the explosion in collected data create many opportunities to rethink and improve traditional retail-banking products and services. 

À la Carte

Providers of retail-banking services face increased client-driven unbundling. Customers can consume financial services from different providers with little loss in convenience or speed.

Jumping The Line

Providers of retail-banking services risk losing their customer interface(s). Competition is increasing at the CI level. Owning a CI for retail-banking services may give a leg up in selling other (higher-margin) products.

Key Findings

The white paper presents two scenarios for the future.
Both are envisioned for 2027–2030.

Most-Likely Scenario

0s and 1s Are Everywhere, but Not Everything – or: Nothing Beats the Real Thing

Overall, we expect that 40% of global retail sales will be generated online in 2030, compared with 16% in 2019. But brick-and-mortar commerce will remain, because sometimes nothing beats the experience in the real world. Stores will survive especially if they offer fully immersive emotional experiences on site – be it a special interior or selected events.

Welcome to the year 2030

In-person emotional experiences

Online commerce will continue to grow massively. However, stationary commerce will survive. In the case of Shoppingtainment, formerly pure shopping centers are being transformed into leisure centers where the focus is on creating lasting experiences.

Digital Shopping

For consumers, there will be no pure offline anymore. Almost every (stationary) retailer will need a digital shop window. The future will bring a degree of digitalization, convenience, speed and personalization to the "store near you" that goes far beyond what we know today. You have to think in the entire customer experience chain.

Automatic Scan and Pay

The shopping experience almost resembles shoplifting, because the registration and payment of the articles works smoothly (seamless / embedded). It automatically detects which items are taken off the shelf and automatically triggers payment when leaving the store.
The checkout accepts a wide variety of payment methods, from payment with one's own data to virtual currencies from online games, crypto currencies or credit from cell.

Indoor Navigation and Real-Time Inventory

Inside stores, we could be guided to the products (indoor navigation); perhaps set to show the fastest route, preventing crowd formations. We could reserve a time to visit a brick-and-mortar place in order to limit the number of visitors and/or avoid waiting times (book an appointment).


Cash will not disappear - but it will be digitalized. The cash infrastructure will additionally be built on the crowd, respectively the wide distribution of digital devices and the ubiquitous connectivity of providers and consumers.

Low-Likelihood Scenario:
The Sustainable Consumer

Sustainable Consumption

Are you influenced by the green, eco, and bio labels printed on products? Would you like to know whether it supports dictatorships around the world? Whether the producer offers apprenticeships, supports gender and racial equality, pays fair wages, and provides education in poor countries to the family members of employees? If you do, you are not alone. Far from it.
The second, less likely, scenario is based on the assumption that sustainability will become increasingly important in the consumer sector and that people will therefore shop in a completely different way than today. In developed countries, the vast majority of people will take their sustainability impact into account before purchasing any goods or services, and will not readily choose the cheapest product or service.

Facts & Figures

64% 64%

say they would buy or boycott a brand based on its position on a social or political issue.

49% 49%

say they are willing to pay higher prices for environmentally friendlier products.

10% 10%

sales increase caused by sustainability label.

Key Drivers of the Scenario

Intensifying anger and impatience with society falling short on sustainability.

Soaring uptake of smartphones, facilitating and sustaining activist consumption.

Growing awareness that activist consumption is necessary to lift society onto a sustainable path.

Business Opportunities

SIX is a B2B business. To innovate, to co-create, and to be perceived as a partner, SIX must thoroughly understand the future challenges and opportunities of its clients. How might they solve relevant problems and reduce costs? How might they build leverageable capabilities? This necessitates a good understanding of the B2B’s own competition and clients. In short, SIX must put on its clients’ shoes as well as their clients’ shoes.

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