It was revealed last week that half of all smaller high street retailers and charities are not considering the future of shopping.

They’re missing out on a potential £12bn in sales every year after failing to manage the transition into a digital marketplace.

Another revelation from the report (by the DHSAB) is one in four businesses not having the tools to deal in the digital marketplace. Large retailers have not been immune to this malaise, HMV’s famous collapse was largely attributed with a failure to deal with a new digital environment and cloud based competitors.

This could be especially troublesome considering the high street is a space which seems on the precipice of embracing a far more seamless, interactive future across the board. But rather than breaking level with the current standards, where can retailers look to envision a marketplace informed by increasingly rapidly evolving technological, social and digital needs?

One field which has provided much of the impetus of this digital generation for the future of retail is science fiction. Tablets, 3D printing, video conferencing, earphones, online food ordering – even the concept of credit itself, all originated from within the sci-fi genre. So what can sci-fi tell us about retail today or even in the near future?

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report is probably the most believable vision of tomorrow’s marketplace and most pertinent example despite being 12 years old, employing advanced versions of burgeoning contemporary marketing tools we have today to huge effect. Digital shopping assistants, personalised advertising and advanced beacon technology are used to create a largely streamlined, personalised interactive shopping experience.

Another example is the 2011 movie In Time, which shows a society greatly dependent upon wearable technology, contactless payment and balance transfer. These technologies are all available today to some extent, but look to becoming part of the standard retail experience shoppers demand.

We may be a long way away from ordering cloned dogs from pet shops a la The Sixth Day, 2000 but some businesses are already making changes on the high street (many of which already covered in this blog) to cater for a fresh generation of digitally fluent shoppers.

Stuart Keates

Creative Artworker