Op-Ed: The 5 C's For Brand Success In C-Commerce's Bright Future
SHOWFIELDS' CEO explains why ecommerce and traditional retail are giving way to 'consumer commerce,' defining what this means for brands and the five key components he has identified from his next-generation brick-and-mortar store for retailers to employ
Today we keep hearing “retail is dead,” but if you ask me, retail is alive—and, dare I say, thriving.
Every industry goes through change. Look at the video industry, travel industry or the music industry. Each has gone through dramatic changes and ended up better on the other side by evolving to meet the demands of consumers and the changes that technology has forced upon their industries.
Retail is no different. We are in the midst of a massive transformation. Retail is evolving as we speak and the only question we should be asking is, “what's next?”
We were raised to think there are two pillars to retail. Traditional retail, which has been stagnant for the last few years, and ecommerce, which is growing rapidly year over year. This is why the natural conclusion is that ecommerce is killing retail. But the less dramatic truth is that there is no killer and there is no crime scene. What is happening is a natural evolution.
The most interesting part of this story is that both traditional retail and ecommerce are undergoing tectonic shifts, are going to eventually become one and will be ruled by none other than the customer. This will be the age of c-commerce.
As CEO of SHOWFIELDS, a four-story brick-and-mortar store dedicated to bringing new, exciting and forever-evolving brands and experiences to consumers, I have been working through what consumer or “c-commerce” is and how we can help brands transition to c-commerce through five simple steps.
The five c’s of consumer commerce are simple: convenience, content, community, curation and connection. Each of these c’s is critical to the success of retail in today’s market and beyond. Here is how the brands of today can prepare for the retail of tomorrow:
1. Convenience: Convenience is really twofold. First, the brand or product must be convenient for consumers. Consumers today are obsessed with immediacy. Thank you technology! Convenience is key as consumers are less likely to go out of their way to get to a product that ultimately they can have delivered to their doorstep. Which leads me to my second c:
2. Content: Companies shouldn’t think about what their customers can do for them, but what they can do for their customers. Today’s customer is looking for authenticity; creating an Instagrammable moment is not enough. In fact, according to The Atlantic, the Instagram aesthetic is over, as the look made famous by the platform simply doesn’t resonate anymore. There needs to be a deeper meaning behind the content or it won’t land.
3. Community: Brands today need to understand what community they are trying to embrace. A community can make or break your brand, and there is definitely a formula to it. Look at cult beauty brand Glossier, which built a true community among and between Glossier users—even launching a physical space to further build its community. It is important to offer your community a physical place where they can interact with other like-minded people and bring online connections offline.
4. Curation: Within in the community your brand has built, the brand voice needs to be clear and its own. Every brand’s voice is more important today than ever before. It is important that you curate and customize experiences for each individual customer, similar to Spotify or Netflix, to truly build an emotional bond. Curation is another way to build a personal connection with your community. By showing them that you are listening and tailoring your offerings to what they have expressed interest in, they are in turn more likely to view you as a company worth their time—and, more importantly, money.
5. Connection: If we want to bridge the physical and the digital, the customer expects everything to be seamless and to work flawlessly regardless of channel. Once consumers feel they have a bond with your brand, it is incredibly important to be consistent and constant with that community. Building a connection is just one part and nurturing that connection the other. By staying in touch with your community and keeping your finger on the pulse of what they want, you will find yourself with a community that you can use to test out new ideas, products, aesthetics, etc., all of which is immensely helpful as you continue to grow.
Consumer commerce is the way forward when it comes to retail. Luckily, through these five c’s any brand can tap into c-commerce easily and efficiently. We are in a pivotal shift with retail and are currently shaping what the future of retail will look like. It is important for every brand, big or small, to tap into these five c’s to ensure they are ready for whatever comes next.
Lead image: SHOWFIELDS