This talk was part of PSFK Conference SF 2012

ideo-retail-conference

At PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO, Dana Cho and Beau Trincia from Ideo spoke about the way in which the retail landscape has dramatically shifted in the last decade. They began with the premise that retail has been disrupted, as evidenced by the fact that many retailers who were relatively unknown a year ago are now dominating the market, and retailers who have been around for decades are looking to downsize or even close their doors. At the root of this there has been a shift in the way people are consuming, which is in turn demanding change from retailers.

Cho and Trincia identified several trends that define this new type of consumer. First, shoppers are demanding a closer connection with the source of their purchases. Through connecting with the process by which a product is made, people feel closer to their purchases. Some brands are responding to this demand, for example a company that produces hand made jeans, and includes the signature of the craftsperson who made that pair on each and every pair produced.

Another example is the rise of micro-communities, which come together based on shared tastes. These groups are usually formed in tight knit groups, and they share their opinions on products. The opinions of others in the group have a great effect on overall shopping habits. Therefore, retailers must look for ways to persuasively appeal to these groups.

Finally, the importance of owner reviews should not be underestimated. Since over 85% of customers trust the reviews of strangers in regards to a product, they have a great impact on overall sales. Owners are the most influential demographic to retailers, and sellers must continually come up with creative new ways to satisfy this group.

These trends reflect a shift in emphasis from big to small. In this way, the most important connections are not being built on the macro level, but rather are taking place at the individual level. Looking forward, retailers must be looking for new and interesting ways to connect individuals on a one-to-one basis in their stores.