In this episode, we head to Tokyo to visit Japan’s largest online clothing retailer and poke around a 115 year old stationery store that’s going international.
The summer bestseller you read on the way to work, a flower delivery for your sister’s birthday, dinner made fresh from your weekly meal kit— today you can have every part of your day ordered online and delivered to you without ever leaving your home. But what about your favorite shop around the corner or even the malls of your childhood? With the growing convenience and efficiency of online shopping come questions about the future of traditional retail. Are brick-and-mortar stores fated to crumble under the weight of the e-commerce boom? Or will online and traditional stores find ways to coexist?
On this episode of the Ideas Podcast, we’re going to one place where the future of retail is already in full swing: Tokyo. Akira Ito, CEO of Itoya, takes us on a tour of the stationery company’s 115 year-old flagship location. As we explore Itoya’s twelve-story playground of paper, we learn how Japan’s oldest stationery company has continued to thrive by curating experiences that keep customers shopping in their store. Then, Masahiro Ito, an executive director at ZOZO, Japan’s largest online apparel retailer, brings us into a future where that personalized, face-to-face shopping experience will be replicated on the Internet. And we visit Top Drawer, a store in Brookline, Massachusetts, where the best of both worlds has made its way into the American retail experience. Along the way, Morgan Stanley’s Managing Director of Retail Research, Kimberly Greenberger, highlights the power of the shopper’s rising expectations in shaping the future of retail.