Consumer Psychology for a Digital Age

Speed Summary: The Future of Retail in Six Trends (Nurun Report)

The ever-insightful team at global digital utility specialist Nurun is publishing a useful trend report on the future of retail called, appropriately enough, The Future of Retail.

As interviewees, we got our hands on an advance copy.  Contact Nurun’s Toronto team direct for the full report, and/or subscribe to their future of retail email list and blog; but here’s what you need to know…

Six trends are shaping the future of retail, many with a social angle

  • The Socialisation of Retail (Social Product Discovery, Consideration and Evaluation). Social influence has a major impact on what we buy, and new retail technology helps retailers harness this. From social recommender systems to social window shopping sites such as Pinterest
  • PR with Sales (product placement morphs into content and commerce). The tried and tested PR strategy of sending new merchandise to editors and journalists in the hope they’ll mention, discuss, or review it is being taken in-house. Retailers such as Gilt Groupe and Zappos are becoming content creators, producing magazines to promote their wares
  • Integrated Omnichannel In other words, ‘have it your way commerce’ offering a seamless experience between the silos formally known as channels. So shop online in-store (via mobile) or shop in-store (store-feeds) and pick up anywhere at home, in-store or at-work.
  • Global Reach, Local Appeal (The New Geography of Merchandising) Smart retailers are using e-commerce to move beyond national and regional boundaries, but are also tailoring what they sell to local markets.  Columbia Sportswear has recently begun initiatives to localize site messaging, product assortment, pricing and promotions (Florletta, 2012)
  • Privacy/Value Tradeoff Consumers value their privacy, and they value deals. Smart retailers are getting the balance right, offering more value to consumers who are willing to trade their privacy for deals
  • Sophisticated Frugality Smart retailers are helping consumers get a bigger bang for their buck, not necessarily by dropping prices, but through private label options, bonuses and preferential terms.  Demand-led pricing and volume pricing (with consumers clubbing together to buy in bulk) are also helping consumers shop smarter

Comments (9):

  1. nj psychologists

    September 19, 2012 at 10:04

    The murder of Kitty also led to psychological research. This psychological phenomenon became known as bystander apathy, the bystander effect or Genovese syndrome. It is basically a phenomenon where someone is less likely to intervene in an emergency situation when other people are present and able to help, than they would if they were alone.

  2. ali nakash

    September 19, 2012 at 10:47

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  3. Gideon Lask

    September 19, 2012 at 14:31

    Love the term ‘Sophisticated Frugality’ – interested to see if that one catches on! The important thing is that brands and retailers don’t just offer bulk-buy discounts to people who club together to shop, but that they also listen to customers when it comes selecting their offers. You can sell, sell, sell as much as you like, but true social commerce is all about LISTEN, LISTEN, sell.

    The co-buying system we use ourselves at and that we offer to media and brand partners from Robbie Williams to Pfizer to OK! Magazine is absolutely centred around a sophisticated requesting system. The fans ask, the fans get and, in return, the fans share, advocate and become wiling marketeers for the brand. But it’s that listening that gets them on board in the first place.

    After all, if there’s one thing customers have always been willing to do, it’s tell you what they want. Technology means that retail finally has the chance to respond.

  4. Jen Chow

    September 19, 2012 at 16:11

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for this carefully and kindly crafted blog post on our first trend report! This one focuses on marketing and merchandising, with four more reports to come in the series.




    Nurun Strategic Foresight Team

  5. Manmohan

    September 20, 2012 at 10:50

    Informative article. I work for McGladrey and there’s a white paper on Retail ( ) that describes current Challenges faced by US retailers.


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