At the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show 2016, held last month, Leslie Ghize, executive vice president of TOBE, presented the landscape of consumer behavior and what retailers should look out for in the next 12 to 18 months.
While customer experience has become a worn-out phrase within retail circles, its importance cannot be understated, according to an article by Jennifer Overstreet, on nrf.com. “It’s experience above all,” Ghize said. “And customers are willing to immerse themselves in your brand.”
Ghize said retailers should be prepared to see a few of the following shifts that will take hold in the near future:
Passion -- Consumers are very savvy about spotting authenticity among all the noise, and a brand’s purpose and mission makes a difference. “It’s very cool to care right now,” said Ghize. Retailers should pay attention to the atmosphere of social consciousness and encouragement campaigns that many celebrities are helping to amplify. “It matters to the consumer that it matters to you,” she said.
Slouch -- We’re so overstimulated that we’re beginning to crave relaxation. You can see this reflected in concierge-type services like Hello Alfred and other service-oriented apps that focus on relieving stress in consumers’ lives, or the overwhelming popularity of the Yule Log app which relaxes with its simple, mesmerizing visuals. With more people seeking serenity, the popularity of island motifs will increase as well.
Memory -- We will rely more and more on technology to be our memory, and as we do so, we will become more willing to appreciate things that don’t need to last, like Snapchat or pop-up shops that disappear after a few weeks. We’ll also romanticize our own memories of a pre-digital-dependent life, coming up with new twists on retro ideas.
Uniform -- The sharing economy that’s been emerging from Uber to Airbnb will begin leading into a new cool — uniformity. Customization and feeling special is all the rage in many areas of retail now, but for some, the one-size-fits-all mentality (such as Casper’s mattress) seems forward-thinking.