Amazon can be stopped
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly publication dedicated to the future of consumer culture from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
A recent survey-driven study published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing concluded that Millennials are "less likely to purchase online compared to their older counterparts."
The significant caveat: Gen-X and Boomer shoppers may buy online more, but Young People (AKA Millennials) actually use interactive technologies more for "utilitarian/information gathering purposes and entertainment."
These findings suggest the survival of the store instead of its much-prophesized demise but also reveal a distinct cultural and generational shift: Young People turn to technology not just for practical reasons, but to meet emotional needs.
Technology isn’t simply something that helps Young People get something done, i.e. make a purchase quickly and efficiently. Technology and interactive media play a role in identity formation and lifestyle. Online shopping doesn’t do this for people. It’s merely a convenience.
Yet a growing body of research indicates stores that fail to play an influential role within digital channels where young people pre-shop, socialize, and participate in virtual communities first, won’t get the sale in the end. Young People want to do more than consume; they want to co-create, participating in the emerging sharing economy. With the rise of the makers and locavore movements, and even seemingly niche trends like the resurgence of home-based and craft brewing, it’s time retail environments built on active consumption.
Photo: Honeywell – Pictured: Dolphin 75e mobile computer
Active retail is intentional. If passive retail was defined by mass-market products designed for many, the new era of active retail reflects the consumer desire for mass customization, with specialty products, from sneakers to jackets, designed for one. Rampant pre-shopping by Young People, or "information gathering," means the serendipitous, impulse-driven buy is more likely to reflect the culmination of countless digital-based interactions prior to the consumer even entering the store.
Active retail makes associates enablers of experiences vs. managers of transactions. Associates must evolve into concierges. They must be community champions that engage with shoppers to co-create what’s next in fashion, not just ring up sales. This turns the store into a space where consumers can influence consumer culture, interact with stores associates and, most importantly, each other.
Active retail gives consumers a voice inside the physical store, not just online. While it has always been a place for gathering and for expression, the store has yet to rival digital’s data-based commerce format, where countless consumer reviews and ratings are commonplace. Nordstrom already tags popular items on Pinterest inside the store. It’s time for retailers to create events that give consumers a way to have as much influence over future inventory choices and fashion trends as corporate buyers do today.
Active retail responds to what is at the heart of the revolutionizing force within all of commerce — consumer empowerment, not their continued passivity.
- Why Amazon Can Be Stopped – WayfinD
- Interactive media usage among millennial consumers – Journal of Consumer Marketing
- Disrupting Retail: Sharing Economy And Collaborative Consumption – Bidness Etc.
- Why the Maker Movement Is Important to America’s Future – Time
- Is Mass Customization the Future of Retail? – Entrepreneur
- The Coming of Age of the Prosumer – American Behavioral Scientist
Do you see a major shift from passive to active shopping at physical retail? Is the active retail theory described in the article the answer for recreating physical stores for Millennials?