Technological advances will further redefine what it means to live, work, shop and play for consumers in 2040. The rate of change will likely only accelerate in the foreseeable future. The plethora of technologies will likely be overwhelming at times. Undoubtedly, those rewiring commerce over the next 20 years will face a different set of challenges than the innovators that came before them. The digital darlings of the first part of the millennium like Uber, Airbnb and Facebook rose to prominence by leveraging technology to connect consumers with providers and in turn introduced a new way of conducting business. Consider the mobile sharing platform Uber does not own automobiles, the accommodations platform Airbnb does not own real estate and the media platform Facebook does not own any content. These companies were successful because of their platforms that connected people, not their assets.
The innovators of next-generation commerce of 2040 will face a different set of challenges. In many ways, the next stage of development will require more changes to infrastructure than what was previously required.
For example, the connected home requires consumers to upgrade to connected appliances and interactive screens. Outlets and venues will require not only a technological upgrade but a redesign to prepare for the consumer in 2040. Many of tomorrow’s outlets will carry less inventory, repurposing the space into a consumer-facing experiential centre. Entertainment venues will deploy flexible designs to shift from one event type to another. Entertainment operators will adjust the venue’s layout to meet the need for different food and delivery options.
To stay in business, companies must continue to reinvent themselves to meet consumer needs. Disruptive brands will go further, creating a unique and exciting experience for their consumers. In recent years, brands might have been able to accomplish this through a slick interface that showcases their platform. Aspiring next-gen commerce players of tomorrow will embrace more fundamental, infrastructure changes to remain relevant in 2040.