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First there was e-commerce, and then came m-commerce. Today, artificial intelligence features, smart speakers and social networks are causing major upheavals, as witnessed by the new « click to shop » feature that makes it possible to order products directly from an Instagram post without even leaving the application. Today, any communication channel may potentially be integrated into the consumer’s buying path and turned into a powerful sales channel to address buyers who are increasingly connected, aware and demanding. Buying a product is no longer seen solely as an action, but rather as a process. The positioning, the values and the messages generated by a brand prove as valuable as the product itself when making that purchase.

Retailers have understood the nitty-gritty of the trade. To satisfy customers who are growing to be increasingly picky, new technologies are being boldly deployed to drive a powerful user experience and switch from mass marketing to truly customized relationships.

Shops have been redesigned as lively venues that offer products from local craftsmen who are made guest stars by large retailers. Actually, this is witnessed by the partnership between L’Occitane and Pierre Hermé, the world class pastry chef, who gave birth to a one-of-its-kind concept store on the Champs Elysées in Paris. Retail outlets are subtly undergoing a digital facelift and have erupted into a new life form by returning to their basics. Technology devices are becoming the enablers of this new generation of retail stores that relies on a smart phygital strategy to reconcile the consumer’s online and offline habits, and deliver a unique experience through the use of data intelligence. Data analytics, indeed, is increasingly being leveraged to improve the construct of each customer.