“People want to shop local, but they also want variety, and they want to shop at 10 p.m. on their couch watching Game of Thrones,” said Anthony Fauci, owner of the Runnin’ Wild toy store in Carrol Gardens, a ShopIn.NYC member. “There is this need to create a Brooklyn mall online.”
The proliferation of online services will be the trend to watch this year. New York’s small businesses had, for better or worse, been dependent last year on delivering food, hosting Zoom workouts and shipping toys. In a post-vaccine world, how does technology interact with the hopeful return of in-person shopping and dining?
Software companies will be lining up a host of solutions. Ghost kitchens, contactless payments and digital menus have grown quickly and may be here to stay, said Joel Montaniel, CEO of SevenRooms, a Flatiron District hospitality software startup.
“But people will be seeking the human touch and personalized experiences,” Montaniel said. “So where does technology help, and where does it get in the way?”
The digital shift of 2020 also accelerated the accumulation of power and wealth among a few chosen companies. That sets up another trend to watch in the coming year: antitrust.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is leading multistate lawsuits against Google and Facebook. A bill in the state Legislature backed by Sen. Michael Gianaris would open up state courts for more lawsuits against monopolistic tech giants.