Shopping behavior is changing from a world where consumers go to stores to get products to one where products come to consumers. Stores aren’t going away tomorrow, but the fundamental role of a retailer is going to change overtime from a physical location to a service that fits the product needs of a consumer whenever and wherever she chooses. What’s more, much of a future consumer’s product needs will be anticipated and automated, moving towards a friction-free experience. The challenge for retailers and brands alike will be remaining relevant in a consumer’s mind. The combination of the decline of the store shelf, coupled with the end of push advertising effectiveness, will eliminate some brands and retailers while others will thrive like never before.
RETAIL RELEVANCY is an upcoming book by John Andrews and Ted Rubin that explores how brands and retailers can thrive in the future by being relevant in consumers minds, an objective which has always been the core of branding, and is now more important than ever.
The world of retail has been shifting beneath our feet – and it’s doing so because the digital age has fundamentally changed everything about how we live. It’s changed how we communicate, how we work, how we travel, and how we buy things. And just like the digital revolution that brought us to this point, there’s no turning back.
We’re already seeing these forces play out with the dominance of e-commerce companies like Amazon. Big-box stores are scrambling to change how they approach and provide products and services to consumers to compete and stay relevant. What’s more, much of a future consumer’s product needs are becoming anticipated and automated, moving towards a friction-free experience. This is beyond e-commerce; it’s ‘personal commerce’ that anticipates, reacts and satisfies consumer demand, often before the demand has fully materialised. For example, products like Nespresso
are already well on the way to becoming fully automated in terms of consumer fulfilment. Innovative Nespresso brewers can track usage and place automatic orders based on minimum personal inventory levels, so that a user never runs out. Nespresso parent Nestlé is aggressively pursuing direct-to-consumer models across many parts of its portfolio.
So this fundamental shift in how we shop begs the question: if our products come to us when we need them, do we still need to go and get them?
“The entire shopping process will change in ways that no one will be able to predict. From branding and marketing to customer service and beyond, the purchase funnel itself will be forever altered.
This is the question that cuts to the heart of every retail brand’s relationship with its consumers going forward. And it’s not just about stores vs. eCommerce. The entire shopping process will change in ways that no one will be able to predict. From branding and marketing to customer service and beyond, the purchase funnel itself will be forever altered. The battle for relevancy in the consumer’s mind will become intense as retailers, brands and third-party players battle for orders.
No doubt about it, shopping behaviour is changing from a world where consumers go to stores to get products, to one where products come to consumers. In fact, many things are changing along with our shopping habits, which is why my business partner, John Andrews
(a total retail geek) and I (a total relationship geek) are writing a new book: Retail Relevancy
Our goal in writing this book is to explore how brands and retailers can successfully navigate the shift in shopper behaviour that is happening right now. Granted, physical stores aren’t going away tomorrow. However, the fundamental role of a retailer is morphing from physical location to a service that fits the product needs of a consumer whenever and wherever he/she chooses. These new technologies are creating a real challenge for today’s retailers.
This isn’t science fiction, folks – it’s happening right now. It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, and it’s scary as hell! But stay calm… When Retail Relevancy
is published you’ll know the secrets to staying ahead of the curve and creating brand value in the post-physical retail environment that’s just around the corner. Stay tuned!