The key premise by Futurist, Patrick Dixon, speaking to a UK audience on The Future of Retail, is that it's not about science or data; i.e. what changes is not the facts, but how people feel. The future is more than consumer research, Dixon says. What's important for the future is how to get into the emotions of our customers, how to understand how our customers feel -- and play to those needs… especially in an online world. (Dixon points out that at the time this video was made, the UK was leading the world, with 6% of retail sales online):
Here are some of the trends and highlights in Dixon's presentation:
* Look at population growth -- the number of children today that will be your customers when they grow up.
* In an increasingly impatient world, logistics are important. Order time, delivery time, etc.
* Self-service checkout is an important trend, to save incredible waste of time spent in store lines.
* Increase in online price comparison is an accelerating trend. People check prices on smartphone or online, then go somewhere else.
* Explosion of retail in places where they weren't before, like Shopping Mall growth.
* Food crisis, caused by use of the grain for biofuels.
* Passion for natural (foods). Good news for retail stores because people want to touch, smell, taste; from local farmer, etc.
* Personalized retail journeys. Retailers have to predict the psychological framework, and create an individual journey -- a customer's own personal experience.
* Innovation and convergence, e.g. iPhone is a camera, phone, SMS device, way to surf the Internet, play games, etc.
* All true innovation in retail is divergent. If you just copy what someone else does, you're identical to everyone else. That's not competitive advantage. When every product and service looks identical, the only difference is price. You have to be divergent in everything you do -- a spark of genius that sets you apart.
* How new technology will change personal lifestyles. Cost of technology is shrinking toward zero. Easy to add features at little cost. The immeasurable value of business we could capture if they use our service after we give them the technology for free.
* If people have the means, you should definitely have an ultra-premium category at the top end, and charge accordingly.
* Customer service -- fulfill people's (and your own) idea of how customer service should be.
* Older money. Don't forget you have many customers over age 65 -- a new niche market, mostly women, and they have money. Cater to the different needs of older consumers; enhance someone's shopping experience -- a chair to sit on in department stores; large-print menus, as well as websites, instruction sheets, and price tags.
* Migrant populations are reshaping the real world, e.g. baby boom in UK, niche marketing of ethnic products, new brands and chains developing,
* Marketing and strategy have to work together. Today there's a gap between our marketing message and what consumers are really thinking about.
* Understand the worlds of YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook--you need successful marketing strategy for these outlets -- find ways to work with these companies -- and you'll reach trillions of people.
We live in interesting days. "To find the place where new trends happen, you have to look at the outer edges of the radar." Remember, it's not what we know, it's about how we feel.