BECAUSE, AT OUR CORE, WE ARE CONSUMERS.
How we consume is critical to everything we do. Combining physical and digital isn’t merely about the sexiness of the future of customer experience, it’s essential to our future as a species. Responsible consumption isn’t just about doing more with less, it is about inspiring customers in ways that are more efficient, healthy and smart. Retail and shopping are often marketed to gluttonous appeal. Sales associates are often not trusted or respected. We need an attainable change in how we conduct commerce with intention and we need it now.
Millions of entry-level jobs depend on retail.
The digital divide and retail is often not talked about. A staggering number entry-level jobs are supported by the retail industry. With ecommerce, technology and innovation, where will those jobs of the future be? What will they be doing? Will the work be satisfying and meaningful? Can employees earn decent wages to support their friends and families? How does the role of the today’s sales associate evolve into a digital guide to help the customer use technology and data to find things they need?
The way we overproduce and discount breeds a negative cycle.
Last and most importantly is the way we produce products. The current and historical model of guessing supply and demand, producing it in advance and then discounting the surplus is damaging on multiple levels. In creating a culture of discounting, people often force the lowest cost, which means labor that is often treated inhumanely, jobs leave the first world and people buy more than they need of things that are unnecessary.
WHAT CAN A CONNECTED STORE OFFER TO CHANGE THIS MODEL?
Ecommerce has helped a lot. Without the overhead of stores and staff, people are buying things digitally more than ever and having them shipped to their house. But we still have 70-90% of sales happening in a large-format physical stores in most categories. Why is that? People now know how to use their smartphones and are used to shipping services having things there in an instant. But people still enjoy physical experiences with real people and real products. We can offer that in a much more helpful and enjoyable way.