Marc Andreessen in his article that retail will completely die is directionally correct, but rather than software “eating retail” per his “software is eating the world model”, it will enable a very powerful and personalized mobile-enabled retail experience that will blow away the experience of just buying goods online from the computer on your desk.
Think of the future of retail more like the Apple retail store model, powered by a compelling & personalized mobile-enabled shopping experience. Less inventory, more experience in the store and at its surroundings, much more known about the consumer while they are shopping and most importantly before they walk in the door.
The mobile computer in your pocket, combined with location transmitters and information sensors surrounding the spaces around you, and a powerful data engine with personalization capabilities will enable shopping and all of the activities that could surround a shopping outing to be fun and entertaining.
The benefits are great – excellent social experience with friends while buying goods, and the goods that you need right away are available, the rest can be delivered home. You can wrapper a shopping outing with food & entertainment with friends and super convenience through a tailored experience. Along the journey you will receive personalized offers and rewards, be navigated directly to the products you want to buy, learn about relevant deals and specials, earn rewards points, find interesting activities to do, be able to locate friends around you and gather for entertainment and dining, receive advice from friends & experts, compare products and services, sort purchases for immediate take-home or home delivery, and make the final purchases. And each visit adds to your profile, making future visits more compelling, valuable and entertaining.
That is a much better future than just sitting by yourself and buying every thing online from your computer!