What will the next generation of retail look like? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Ron Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder Enjoy, on Quora:

Having worked in the retail industry for nearly four decades now the only constant is change. It's an insanely fast moving industry. We have now entered the "post Digital" era of commerce where digital retailers are racing to physical faster than the physical retailers are racing to digital.

It's pretty mind bending to contemplate! Just five years ago pundits were saying software would eat the world, but it wasn't true.

Software is the foundation of our world, but the same software that launched the digital retail revolution has enabled the physical retailers to seize the upper hand.

Just today Target stores announced a 42% increase in online sales while traffic to its stores grew 4%! Target is winning both physically and digitally and can do things online other retailers can't even contemplate - like buy online and pick up in store, which is incredibly popular as it provides speed and convenience. But digital-first retailers know this and are quickly building a physical presence.

Let's look at a few examples.

Amazon: The amazing Amazon, which is the king of online retail, is leading the race to physical.

  • 18 Months Ago Acquired Whole Foods
  • 12 Months Ago launched Amazon Go
  • Last Month announced it was going to build a chain of grocery stores from coast to coast in the USA

The king of online retail will likely lead the physical world in square footage growth over the next decade.

Warby Parker, started with a clever online only model to buy glasses in 2010, now has over 100 physical stores generating the majority of its sales from physical outlets.

Allbirds, founded five years ago, already has stores in key cities. In fact, as I walked through London last month after touring the Apple Store in Covent Garden, I was so intrigued to discover a very large All Birds Store. It was huge ... about 4k sq feet to sell two styles of shoes. The original Apple stores were only a bit larger.

Away, founded four years ago, raised $50 mm last year to grow, including building out a network of physical stores that do $4k per square foot.

Casper, founded five years ago, not only has its own network of stores, but has partnered with Hudson Bay to sell it's Mattresses throughout Canada

Peloton opened a store at Short Hills a few years ago and quickly learned it was their best way to acquire customers and now has stores in 23 states.

There are a handful of digital native brands that are digital only, but they either utilize AI to provide personalization like Stitch Fix or provide new ownership models like Rent the Runway.

At the same time, the Digital Brands have gone Physical and the Physical Brands have gone Digital and they have been incredibly successful. Therefore the next generation of retail will be a tightly integrated physical and digital experience that increasingly begins on your mobile device.

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