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From the Editor: Everything Old is New Again

How retailers can create magic while reimagining the shopping experience.

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LAST WEEK I DID something I haven’t done in the past 16 months. I booked a plane ticket. But first, I had to reinstall the American Airlines app, try to remember my password and figure out how to use the credit from the flight I booked last March that was unceremoniously cancelled once the words “worldwide pandemic” hit the airwaves.

My point in sharing these minutiae is not to bore you, though realistically that may be an unintended consequence. You see, there has been much written about the “new normal” and how our lives will never be the same post-pandemic. But I’d argue that it won’t be until we actually experience the once-familiar habits of our pre-pandemic existence that we’ll truly begin to understand what lies ahead of us.

All personal theories aside, the opportunity that our as-yet-written future holds bears exploring as we begin this new chapter. That’s why we’ve invited digital anthropologist and futurist Brian Solis to deliver the opening keynote at this fall’s International Retail Design Conference (IRDC), to be held Sept. 21-22 at the Sheraton Downtown Denver.

Described as “one of the more creative and brilliant business minds of our time” by Forbes magazine, Solis endeavors to humanize the relationship between disruptive innovation, often technology based, and its impact on organizations and markets, like retail.

“In futuristic movies like Minority Report and Blade Runner, a character walks through retail settings and he’s greeted by name; there’s technology that knows who he is and tries to sell him things, and it’s very intrusive. That should give us cues from a design perspective: technology shouldn’t feel intrusive and suffocating,” Solis said in a recent interview with McKinsey. “The technologies exist, so the question becomes, ‘How do we use them?’ It’s about creating magic. Great retailers, in the future, will make you feel like you’re in a special place, designed especially for you, so that you take time out of your life to go to that place because it feels like the right place to be.”

Author of the book, “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design,” Solis is among the few who are uniquely qualified to help retail designers better understand their roles as creators of experiential spaces and to leverage that understanding to reimagine the shopping experience. I hope you’ll join us in Denver IRL this fall to listen to Solis and many other thought leaders as they offer their insights as we Rethink Retail.

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Please visit irdconline.com for updates and a full agenda.
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Jennifer Acevedo
Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher, VMSD Magazine

Jennifer Acevedo is the editor-in-chief and associate publisher of VMSD magazine.

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