How are consumers’ expectations evolving towards offline shopping?

What was done

In 2019, Alice Labs worked with 3 global brands to explore the future of physical retail as a part of evolving urban landscape. The project was called Retail in Flux.

The work involved studying consumers in three continents by using multiple methods:

  • Qualitative exploration in the USA, UK and China consisting of in-depth interviews and hack fests
  • Quantitative exploration, consisting of a 6-market study
  • Collaborative work with each of the participating companies to develop the research insights further, keeping in mind the market realities of the individual brands   

Key insight

While it is essential for global retail brands to develop new and innovative ways to merge offline and online shopping into a more seamless omni-channel shopping experience, they should remain highly sensitive to the differing expectations of consumers in different markets. One-size-fits-all approaches for building omni-channel shopping journeys across different markets may fail.

We also see that the role of the physical space and real-world interactions have extremely high value if approached in the right way. The urban landscape is set to change as people (even pre-COVID) have begun to focus on neighbourhoods and proximity.


The work has been successful in pointing to future opportunities and elaborating on key evolving consumer requirements for omnichannel models.

The quantification of opportunities has permitted participating companies to prioritise and focus development efforts and resource allocation.


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