There is a common heart beat that underlies all recent technological and business advances and ignoring it and its implications will ultimately result in your retail death.
The DNA behind Skype (computer telephony), youtube (on line video sharing), flickr (on line photo sharing), joost (on line television), Google (search engine) and most of the other successful dot com’s is their core desire to reunite people, share communal wisdom and tear down the isolating personal barriers that the industrial revolution ingrained in us over the past 150 years.
This is not a hippy / emo (a subset group of Goth’s with a strong social conscious and desire) substance induced statement. We are headed back to the future as we seek to reassert our basic anthropological desire to live in communities, share wisdom, build our lives based on past learning and wisdom and be co dependant on, or in tune with, others and our environment.
The learning’s from this social and technological evolution are trickling down to retail and retailers that choose to ignore it do so at their own peril.
Retail is metaphorically today’s equivalent of the old camp fire and community hall rolled into one.
Research informs us that people use retail for more than its obvious purpose of acquisition; they use it to recreate, to bring them out of their isolated world into a broader world in which they can interact and recreate with others, and observe the world, and it is for many people their personal oasis.
If your customers are telling you this is what they primarily want from you and that the end purchase, which they can get in lots of other places, is secondary to them then why do so many retailers insist on providing a retail experience and level of service that shouts we don’t value you, we don’t like you and we want you to get the hell out of our store as quickly as possible.
Customers are searching for a new fashioned, old fashion.
They want a retail environment that excites and tantalises them, they want service that validates and acknowledges them and they want expert advice and real personalised attention that specifically answers and resolves their issues and needs.
In tomorrow’s retail world this new fashioned old fashion is all that the savvy customer will accept, retailers that can provide it will evolve and prosper and retailers that can’t are doomed for inevitable extinction.