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Future Ready Retail

How to stay competitive in the rapidly changing retail landscape

4 May 2023

“Approximately 60 percent of consumers would rather have an experience, than buy anything in a shop. This is why retail it is no longer a sales channel, but instead a platform for moments of experience.” – In an insightful interview, Ibrahim Ibrahim, the Managing Director of Portland Design, delves into “future readiness” and its significance in the rapidly evolving retail industry.

'Shops need to develop: Retail is no longer about a channel of distribution – it´s about a media platform and about moments of experience.'

Ibrahim Ibrahim, Managing Director, Portland Design

Mr. Ibrahim illustrates how the traditional understanding of physical stores is undergoing a fundamental shift and highlights the pivotal role that the changing consumer behavior plays in bringing about this transformation. As the retail landscape becomes increasingly dynamic, it is imperative for its players to embrace the concepts of future readiness and future ready retail to stay ahead of the curve and thrive in the urban centers of tomorrow.

Short summary

The concept of "future readiness" is built upon four pillars: "fast", "slow", "local" and "belong". They emphasize the importance of responsiveness and agility for retailers who want to remain competitive in the ever-evolving retail landscape. This need for agility is directly tied to the idea of "retail-darwinism". It shows the pace at which consumer behavior and expectations are changing, often outstripping the ability of brands and places to stay ahead. To thrive in this environment, physical stores will need to focus on creating meaningful experiences and building communities. Success will be measured by a store's ability to generate media attention. As consumption patterns shift towards sustainability, health and wellness, the sharing economy, and community collaboration, brands must remain flexible and responsive to keep up with changing expectations.


  • Retailers must be agile and responsive to stay competitive in the future.
  • Consumer behavior and expectations are rapidly changing, making it important for retailers to stay on top of trends.
  • Physical stores will become more experience-driven and community-centered, with a focus on driving media impressions.

Expert information

Ibrahim Ibrahim is the Managing Director of Portland Design, a London-based design firm that is part of the global Perkins + Will architecture and design network. He is a post-graduate of the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. With 29 years of experience in design consultancy, Ibrahim has worked with several big international corporations, including Nestlé, Diageo, CNN, Heathrow Airport, Westfield, Selfridges, and Harrods. He is also a frequent speaker at conferences and regularly wrote pieces for The Economist ‘Insights’.