With every action tracked and every decision guided by smart phones, computers and wearable technology, it is of little surprise that an increasing number of consumers turn to the convenience of e-commerce to satisfy their shopping needs. With sites like Grailed and other alternative online marketplaces, the internet makes it easy for shoppers to find what they want at prices below even the deepest store markdowns. An August 2017 release from the U.S. Department of Commerce estimated the value of second-quarter domestic e-commerce sales at $111.5 billion, an increase of 16.2 percent from the previous year that positions e-commerce as the channel behind nearly 1 in every 10 sales in the United States.
On the flip side, the past few years have been depressing, if not devastating, for brick-and-mortar retail. In April, The Atlantic reported corporate behemoths shuttering hundreds of flagships, bankruptcy indiscriminately striking businesses of all scales and apparel companies’ stocks dipping to new lows. The media dubbed it Retail Apocalypse, a dramatic yet unfortunately apt name. In his “Retail Prophet” column for Business of Fashion, industry futurist Doug Stephens repeatedly warns of the imminent demise of the physical store as we know it, and heralds the popularization of stores fueled by technology and keen to provide visitors unique, sensory experiences.

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