The Forecast 2020 report equips brands and retailers with key insights into the changing role of the consumer

Is the best employee actually the customer? Retailers are taking a bet on this concept by giving customers a number of ways to purchase their goods, in whatever way suits them best. We’ve seen retailers offer self-checkout kiosks and online-to-store options, but the digital frontier is allowing consumers to carry key store functions in their own pockets. Leading up to the year 2020, consumers will be at the core of brick and mortar retail, invigorating the retail experience through accessibility and providing feedback on products they want to see.

One of the retailer’s top priorities is supplying the customer with products they want. But sometimes brands can’t keep up with these ever-changing styles and trends. If a supply chain is too bloated, the stockroom will be full of last-season clothes or items customers have already purchased. Because the customer is often at the forefront of the latest trends, they should be included in the strategizing buying and selling operations.

Brands like athleisure manufacturer Orion are crowdsourcing business decisions by directly asking the consumer what they want. Participants voted on Orion's manufacturing locales, advertising campaigns and types of clothes made using an online survey. This ensures that Orion is a consumer-first brand and instills a positive relationship with its customer-base.

For other retailers like Everything But The House and Depop, the customer is also the seller. These platforms create a safe, secure place for individuals to sell their products. In turn, retailers can establish a loyal peer-to-peer marketplace, while sharing profits with vendors who are looking to expand their personal brand.

Smartphones, however, are the next primary tools for basic store operations. Amazon Go uses the customer's phone as a form of identification, allowing them to physically ‘sign in' when they walk into the store and ‘check out' when they leave.

Whether it's the phone that acts as a credit card or selfies for photo identification, it's clear that store operations are now in the hands of the consumer. In response to this power shift, retailers should offer the customer remote access to products and allow them to personalize their own purchase paths.

PSFK FOrecast 2020 banner

The PSFK 2020 Forecast strategizes how brands and organizations can remain relevant as the power of choice grows in the hands of the individual. By analyzing important shifts over the past year, PSFK’s research team has studied how consumers are increasingly tailoring information and products to their own needs. The full report is designed as a roadmap for brands, retailers and organizations to reestablish themselves as platforms for guidance and encouragement. Download the full report here, and learn more about PSFK’s Intelligence Platform.

Is the best employee actually the customer? Retailers are taking a bet on this concept by giving customers a number of ways to purchase their goods, in whatever way suits them best. We’ve seen retailers offer self-checkout kiosks and online-to-store options, but the digital frontier is allowing consumers to carry key store functions in their own pockets. Leading up to the year 2020, consumers will be at the core of brick and mortar retail, invigorating the retail experience through accessibility and providing feedback on products they want to see.