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Retail Reborn Episode 1: Where Consumers Will Buy

In the first episode of the returning hit series, retail futurist Doug Stephens, associate professor Thomas J. Campanella, ‘Godmother of the Metaverse’ Cathy Hackl, and Stôur Group co-founders Sonny Gindi and Eden Melloul discuss how physical and virtual consumer landscapes are evolving to meet next-gen consumer demands.
Podcast series Retail Reborn Season 2, Episode 1: Where Consumers Will Buy. Guests clockwise from top left: Thomas J. Campanella, Eden Melloul, Sonny Gindi and Cathy Hackl.
Retail Reborn Season 2, Episode 1: Where Consumers Will Buy. Guests clockwise from top left: Thomas J. Campanella, Eden Melloul, Sonny Gindi and Cathy Hackl.
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Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode.

In the second season of BoF’s hit podcast series Retail Reborn, presented by Brookfield Properties, we investigate the consumer of tomorrow — how new fundamentals will shape the lives and behaviours of the next-generation consumer, and the impact on the retail industry today.

Episode 1 begins by examining the redrawing of city life as new lifestyle patterns have propelled a seismic shift in the urban landscape. Globally, cities experienced a mass exodus of residents and commuters as the pandemic popularised remote living and working. An Arup survey found 41 percent of Londoners moved out of the city at some point in the pandemic, compared with around 10 percent in Madrid, Milan and Berlin and 20 percent in Paris, as reported in The New York Times in 2021. Outside of Europe, almost 45 percent of Japanese residents in their 20s expressed an interest in leaving major cities, while Reuters similarly reported a net 70,000 people leaving New York in 2020, resulting in roughly $34 billion in lost income.

“The pandemic has thrown into question the nature of work, education, communication and almost every other aspect of life,” says podcast host and founder of Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens. “[But] cities aren’t going anywhere. While we may see a temporary out-migration — particularly among white-collar workers with portable professions — it’s simply part of an historic ebb and flow.”

The episode goes on to discuss how retailers are exploring innovative methods and use-cases for physical retail to better engage consumers in-store, such as New York’s Allure Store and its focus on media as the store’s metric for success. The conversation also illuminates the fast-emerging retail opportunities within the metaverse, discussing luxury fashion and beauty’s initial steps into this space, and the potential in leveraging the likes of NFTs, skins and blockchain technologies. Indeed, BoF and McKinsey & Co.’s State of Fashion Report 2022 estimates that the total addressable market for digital fashion is $31 billion.

To better understand where the next generation of consumers will look to shop, BoF assembled four global authorities to share insights with host Doug Stephens.

Thomas J. Campanella is associate professor of urban studies and city planning at Cornell University and historian-in-residence of the New York City Parks Department. He is also the author of Republic of Shade: New England and American Elm, and The Concrete Dragon: China’s Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

“The death of cities has been predicted and foretold endlessly, almost gleefully predicted that [...] the city is doomed. The rich array of amenities close at hand [in] a city offers the ease of transportation, walkability — all these affordances became more valued in the information age when we had the ability to be anywhere.”

Cathy Hackl is founder and CEO of metaverse consultancy, Futures Intelligence Group. Since its launch in 2020, the consultancy has advised brands on growth strategies, NFTs, gaming and virtual fashion. Dubbed the “Godmother of the Metaverse,” Hackl is author of The Metaverse Economy, host of Future of the Metaverse podcast, and was voted BigThink’s top 10 most influential women in tech in 2020.

“There’s still an element of allure and importance with luxury fashion. But I think that they’re interested in understanding the consumer of the future and understanding where the younger generations — the Gen Alphas, Gen Z’s — where they’re inhabiting. They’re starting to realise that in this metaverse that we’re going into, we will remain physical beings, in a physical world, we will have a very active digital lifestyle.”

Sonny Gindi and Eden Melloul are co-founders of the Stôur Group, a business that partners with digital publishers and influencers to bring aspects of online shopping to the physical retail experience. Stôur is behind the Allure Store — a New York store where customers can shop by editorial headlines, as curated by the Condé Nast magazine’s editors. Gindi acts as creative director and Melloul as chief brand officer of Stôur.

“Retailers have to stop thinking that brands are vendors. Retailers have to start thinking that brands are their clients and that they are here to service them,” says Gindi.

“The whole world is saying retail is dead. And if that’s true, then who killed it? Well, if the internet killed it, then what’s true about the internet? What’s true about the internet is content. [...] We create a bunch of bespoke content around your product. Effectively, it’s a marketing suite of services inside of a physical retail environment,” continues Melloul.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges the consumer of tomorrow will bring and how retail’s transformation will impact your business.

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Enjoy 25% BoF Professional membership until December 20