Picture this - a single destination where all of your commerce dreams come true. You walk in to find the exact pair of royal blue, retro, athletic shoes that you've always wanted with little effort and you can customize the laces. But this isn't a dream, retail brands are focusing more and more on direct-to-consumer experiences and making "customized convenience" a reality. Additionally, when consumers aren't loyal to a single brand, the more emphasis that these brands will place on engaging with them one-off, in the moment.
While it might be a bit presumptuous to assume that brand loyalty is dead, it has taken the back seat to consumer-driven needs. We constantly hear that the consumer is in the driver seat but with so many options, the consumer will just as likely turn off and go on auto-pilot - making these "moments" so important.
In this Forbes article, the author compares the ultimate shopping experience to a Spotify playlist - curated, customized and completely personalized to your likes/dislikes. While seemingly impossible, more and more retail businesses are foregoing the longer tail goal of creating life-long customers in favor of finding ways to engage with the right customer through one-off, in-the-moment, uber-personalized experiences. While this may seem impossible at scale (and particularly difficult for big brands that move more slowly), experts agree that getting to the goal "starts and ends with innovation and a commitment to exceeding customer expectations."
With this new goal in mind, the gap between understanding human needs/desires and tech enablement must close more rapidly in order for brands of all sizes to withstand the changing pace of commerce.
The future of retail looks like this: A customer walks into a store and a sales associate says, “Welcome back. We think you’ll like this product.”