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What does the future of retail look like?
business robotics customer satisfaction operations management supply chain store management creative strategy creative problem solving supply chain management innovation customer engagement idea generation customer relationship management
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20 months ago
Small pic online shopping 2

The retail environment for consumer goods is changing at a rapid pace. Automation, robotics, and digital services have become the norm which means consumers expect instant gratification and rapid delivery on top of highly customized purchases.

The Coronavirus pandemic has even further accelerated all the above trends as companies try to adapt to the “new normal” and stay competitive in the market. This has created the term SafeX (health & safety experience) which has become the new CX (customer experience) meaning that customers do not want to linger inside a store any longer than necessary. The pandemic has also created more opportunities for resilience and sustainability in supply chain processes. For example, artificial protein alternatives are growing in popularity to combat climate change. Packaging innovation is another positive pandemic trend occurring in order to reduce our carbon footprint. 

Today, retailers buy in their goods and store items in bulk on displays and e-retailers tend to deliver direct to consumers. These are current practices, but what does this retail environment look like in 20 years’ time and beyond? We want to hear your ideas on how consumer packaged goods (CPG) could be sold in the future – and how changing consumer demands plus continued development in technologies will impact the total retail environment.

*We are looking for extreme creativity and out of the box thinking for this project so feel free to incorporate technologies that are only in the concept phase right now. Make sure to also think as far out as 2050 when you are envisioning the future of retail and associated experiences!*


Please share your ground-breaking vision of what the future retail space in the consumer goods sector will look like in the future (as far out as 2050). Think about physical stores with little to no human touch points as well as digital spaces and please answer the following:

  1. What will the shopper experience be like?
    1. How will we buy our goods in the future?
    2. How do they end up in the consumer’s hands?
    3. What is the overall journey in purchasing an item? 
  2. What consumer packaged goods (CPG) are shoppers buying on a regular basis
    1. How are they packaged and displayed?
  3. What will be the optimal strategy for retail stores? 
    1. Are current stores still relevant or will a new format have emerged? 
    2. Where are they located?


  • We STRONGLY recommend that you share any visuals or sketches of your ideas that have inspired your vision - along with any references to new technologies & companies of interest discovered during your research. The more details you can provide to support your idea, the better chance you will have at winning prize money!
  • Speculate how robotics and how technology in general will be used in the future to optimize supply chain processes.
  • When thinking about this project, don’t just base your solution on what Amazon is doing currently with their Amazon Go stores. That is a great starting point but think beyond the current store layout with some radical innovation added.
  • Consider a retail/e-tail space in 2050, with limited human interaction and considering possible future Government policies such as regular lockdowns. There is no limit on how "blue sky" and innovative your vision can be, so don't hold back!
  • This challenge is open to all solvers but please submit in English!
    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Meets Deliverables
  • Thoroughness
  • Forward-thinking
Reward Tiers
10 Winners
will receive $100 each
15 Honorable Mentions
will receive $40 each
$100.00 Square pic 60 20200121 192854 University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa
$100.00 Square pic 60 20200229 113344
$100.00 T University of Tennessee
$100.00 Square pic 60 dog and cat cuddling cropped Mumbai
$100.00 D Zhejiang University
$100.00 Square pic 60 img 20191006 170436 Mahatma Gandhi University
$100.00 Square pic 60 pp University of Oxford
$100.00 Square pic 60 img 20181008 wa0034 University of Cape Coast
$100.00 Square pic 60 img20190108124848 Manipal University
$100.00 J University of California, Los Angeles
$40.00 Square pic 60 screen shot 2019 06 16 at 5.23.53 pm Queen's University
$40.00 Square pic 60 38197 McGill University
$40.00 Square pic 60 img 20201117 123037 384 Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow
$40.00 Square pic 60 img 20200712 160057  2  copy APJ Abdul kalam Technological University
$40.00 J Mumbai University
$40.00 Square pic 60 flower aesthetic University of California, Irvine
$40.00 Square pic 60 obasogie okpamen profile picture Landmark University
$40.00 Square pic 60 img 20201022 0001 Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow, India
$40.00 Square pic 60 img 20200523 wa0000 Ghana Baptist university college
$40.00 Square pic 60 dsc06977 Anna University
$40.00 Square pic 60 screen shot 2017 06 20 at 5.45.05 pm H N B garhwal
$40.00 Square pic 60 snapchat 1255580821 Olabisi Onabanjo University
$40.00 Square pic 60 10 31 14 pro Walden University
$40.00 Square pic 60 20200330 164758 EdX
$40.00 Picture?width=160 New Delhi Institute Of Management
Submission questions

How often do you shop in-store?