Back To The Future of Retail

Back To The Future of Retail

After working with Tulip Retail in Q3/Q4 of 2019, our team was immersed in the world of Retail for an extended period of time. In addition to Tulip, we'd also started working with a local startup creating a double sided marketplace for retail agency services and specialized retail talent. Naturally, we found ourselves engaged in more water cooler discussions around the way we shop, the brands we engage with and our feelings on brick & mortal vs. the e-commerce.

With all these topics top of mind and looking at the world of Retail from a UX lens, we found a noticeable trend of digitally native brands that were investing in physical stores and experiences to bring their brands to life.

We found this fascinating and thought it would be amazing if we could bring together a diverse set of voices from the world of Retail to share their perspectives on how we seem to be looking to the past as we move towards the future of retail. With that - Back to The Future of Retail was born!

event video 

Here is a summary of the event, written by our lead volunteer: Vincent Khuu.

Back to the Future of Retail Notes 📕 : The New Retail Experience

Join Maryam Zaidi from You X Ventures, as she asks our esteemed panelists to travel back ◀️ through time & space, to understand where retail innovation was, where it is now, and where it’ll be heading into the future ✨

“81% of consumers are still shopping offline, 82% are doing preemptive research online, you need both experiences to work together. If they don’t, you’ve already lost.”

🔑 Top 3 Takeaways 🔑

  • The role of Brick and Mortar stores has evolved beyond a simple touchpoint for converting potential customers. Digital and Brick and Mortar should work together to create a seamless experience.
  • Mapping the customer journey is more important than ever, but there is still a long way to go.
  • The most memorable customer experiences are *still* the ones with people in them.

Summary ✌️

“There’s been a culling of unfavourable brick and mortar stores — it’s not that they’re dying, they have to evolve with the times”

With E-Commerce becoming more and more common, there has been a shift in the role of traditional Brick and Mortar. Stores have evolved beyond merely trying to convert potential customers. Rather, it serves to showcase what a brand stands for, provide a multi sensory experience, and allow for organic human interaction, all of which provide a compelling customer experience. Stores that can’t keep up are being torn down, replaced with ones that can.

Maryam Zaidi, UX Researcher at You X Ventures Moderating our panel, featuring (from left to right): Andrew Witkin (CEO, StickerYou), Kris Matheson (Founder, Goods & Commerce), Kelly Stewart (Director of Marketing, Sampler), and Aashish Nathwani (Head of Activations, Inkbox). Photography by Maaz Khan

“Consumers’ journeys nowadays are like a pick your own adventure. It’s so difficult to map, there are so many touch points.”

— Kelly Stewart

So with Digital and Brick and Mortar working together, how do we understand the new customer journey? That’s still a work in progress. Historically, there’s been a lack of understanding and tools to do this properly, and with the plethora of additional touch points available to consumers today, there’s plenty of work to do. One thing remains constant though, personalization is key 🔑

“I was so blown away that the store owner would do that for me, they got themselves a lifetime customer.”

— Kris Matheson, on a personal shopping experience.

So what is the best way to provide a personalized shopping experience 🤔 ? As each of our panelists were asked to describe a memorable shopping moment, a common theme appeared. The most memorable customer experiences are *still* ones with people in them 💯. Recommendations, chatbots, and live agents are great digital stand ins, but real human interaction lives at the heart of an amazing personalized consumer experience 🙏

Wrapping up our first panel, and getting ready for some Q&A. Photography by Maaz Khan

Reflections 💭

  • Digital and Brick and Mortar complement each other. How can we provide excellent consumer experience in companies with only one or the other?
  • What are some processes or tools that could aid in understanding the complicated journey of consumers? Do new frameworks need to be created?
  • As artificial intelligence and machine learning become more sophisticated, could there be a point where the digital consumer experience becomes more personalized, more endearing, and more enjoyable than human interaction?

Have any answers to these questions? To drop us a response, and for more overall design awesomeness, check out You X Venture’s Twitter & Instagram.

Follow us on Twitter 🐦 for future updates and events!

Special thanks to Tulip Retail 🌷, StickerYou, and Artisan Complete for sponsoring this event 🙏

Jason Goodman
Jason Goodman