FutureVision’s Day-Two Visionaries – on Retail, Health Care, Social Strategies
The second and last round of presentations at the inaugural FutureVision Conference, held this week at Sonoma, Calif.’s Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa, included talks by a trio of experts who outlined the conditions shaping retail and health care and the changing nature of social media and its utility in marketing and relationship-building with the consumer. The conference, which wrapped up Wednesday, was sponsored by Dealerscope and Ryan Retail Consulting.
Retailing, in a New Light
Michael Dart, author of The New Rules of Retail, opened Wednesday’s program with a talk touching on how retailers can leverage their physical stores to win in a mobile-device and Internet age where the consumer is the all-powerful orchestrator of the retail experience. “Retail is an exciting place; if you’re a technologist retailer, you become center stage now,” he averred, while acknowledging the inherent challenges in navigating all the changes in retailing.
He noted four “time period waves” that have marked retail’s transformation, from the early days when goods producers wielded power and demand for goods was in excess of supply (Producer Power), through to the mid-20th Century, when marketing – the need for product differentiation – became necessary (Marketing Power), as product supply became plentiful. From 1980 through recent times, a surfeit of goods dictated the necessity for suppliers to open other markets and conduct their marketing in more sophisticated ways. And now, due to dizzying consumer buying choices (Consumer Power) – he pointed out as an example that in 1980 there were six blue denim brands that attracted, versus 800 brands in 2010 vying for buyer – the consumer is completely in the driver’s seat when it comes to what, where and how to buy. Topping that off is the latest, fourth wave – Technology Power – which the retailer must harness and incorporate into his business plan. The key, he said, is finding out what now drives the consumer’s behavior as he has moved from “needing stuff” to “demanding experiences.”