Excerpt: Here are my four rules for forecasting the future of retail: 1. "Human factors" trump everything: If the user experience is not intuitive, it will be disdained by consumers. 2. Auctions aren't for everyone: Despite eBay's success, most people don't want to bid in the open market for most purchases. As several analysts have noted, the auction model peaked in the Middle Ages, at the weekly village market. It is a crude instrument when applied to every aspect of commerce. 3. Catalogs aren't for everything: Catalog buying peaked nearly a century ago, when the Sears catalog was the Amazon.com of early 20th century retailing. But catalogs quickly turned into a niche of the consumer economy complementing retailers, rather than replacing physical stores. 4. People who need people are the luckiest people: Consumers enjoy - and will pay for - the company of others who share their interests, in comfortable settings.