The future of retail

Eaton Centre

Your next shopping trip could look a little different once retail stores are able to reopen.

We've already seen lineups outside grocery stores as they limit the number of people inside at one time.

Now, there are suggestions retailers may ask you to make an appointment to shop.

David Soberman, a marketing professor at the University of Toronto, says it's especially true for smaller stores with more narrow aisles, as they look to follow social distancing guidelines.

He says it could work in the short term, but if social distancing remains in place for longer, some shops may have to rethink their entire layout to allow shoppers to stay two metres apart.

"That's obviously is an impediment to business," Soberman says of appointment shopping. "If you have a certain gap in your day...and that's not when the retailer has an appointment available, that's going to mean less business for the retailers."

There has already been a shift to more online shopping but Soberman does not expect bricks and mortar to disappear entirely, though you may see some companies run with fewer stores.

"We are social animals. We like to see people," Soberman says. "People do like shopping. It's sort of something that gives us pleasure."