Winning your consumer means freeing your customer (The next Hypespace for brands/ retailers)

E-commerce has taken retail by storm. DTC has become 2019/20’s biggest buzzword ahead of sustainability, but the engines that drive digital commerce have equally come into scrutiny. F***book’s playing a ball game they shouldn’t be even on the bench for, Amazon’s a great business (but is killing tens of thousands of jobs for every thousand it creates) and Google plays the role of encyclopedia god (I don’t find my nearest coffee without Google and baristas lose out to Starbuck’s ability to play to the algorithm’s tune). Trust with technology platforms is at a breaking point and I believe we’re going to see that trust continue its demise.

One major consumer trend not being touted enough is fortification. That means, stocking up, saving up, and shoring up. Protecting your data from outside influences. If media & governments continue to dial in on malpractice from big technology & social commerce platforms these organisations will lose consumer appeal/trust. More regulations globally will come into the fray around the use of data, the social presences that brands and retailers have been cultivating to match rapid social market growth might come to an equity value of zero.

– In 4 years time researchers estimate as much as 90% of video content on the internet could be synthetic
– Covid-19 blamed for 238% surge in cyber attacks on banks

(hype links at the bottom)

Fake content decreases the value of real content. If this is the case then we’ll see a definite whiplash effect and the inflated value of social commerce will collapse as fast as it expanded. The strength of large technology players (their data & use of data) could also become their “Achilles heel’s”. Brands & retailers can uncouple from big technology by taking a consumer / community-first approach to data and privacy rights.

The pandemic has made all of us ask what purpose we serve and for many in retail and retail supply chains to ask “what purpose does our product serve the customer?” Apparel, Footwear and other Retailers have the opportunity to make consumer Privacy & Data into a brand feature rather than a small print hidden by obscurity. 

Mailchimp (this mail tech that gets this email to you) sent me this message over the weekend and its a real-time example of privacy as a feature. A discount for a “two-factor” authentication, rewarding me for securing up my account.

 

Brands and Retailers have a huge whitespace opportunity in helping customers retain their rights to privacy. That whitespace is trust, trust results in increased interactions, therefore resulting in increased transactions. The world of “online marketplaces” is a hard platform for brands to win consumer attention and to cultivate one-to-one customer experiences, which as we know by now most consumers are looking for. The first brands that take a “pro-privacy” stance and consumerfy their approach to customer data will see long term rewards. 

Real brands are still the final consumer destination. Google, Facebook and Amazon, they’re not brands that you buy. They’re the function (or means of transportation) to get to the brands that you buy.

How “Waves” Shape Us – Real Recovery & False positives

Consumption is ticking upwards again and many supply chain offices are seeing an increase in orders, injecting a much-needed shot of moral and fiscal boot into the engines that fuel retail and e-commerce. I’ve been trumpeting on about fundamental change & change culture, the big question on my mind has been;

How much does this wave of recovery interrupt monumental change & evolution initiatives? 

For the next year at least we’re the ball in a ping pong match played between Covid-19 and Recovery. E-commerce’s rise has filled some consumption gaps and summer has brought out buying behaviours, but true to The Game of Thrones cliché, winter is coming.

How many of us expect the number “2021” to bring us better fortunes. The symbolism of a new year and a new page turned typically always falls short just like new gym memberships. The best time to start any initiative is now, waiting for a specific date or moment puts time in the driver seat. I’m hearing of offices hiring again because the skeleton crews manning the decks haven’t got the mental calories to give any more.

Great progress has been made for supply chains this year, Asian based teams have stepped up in times of need and fundamental shifts have taken place particularly in the design arena. But, now that Head Quarter buying and design teams are adjusted to working in a lock-down state their operatus modi doesn’t sound like it’s changed all too much. A threat to evolution and progress.

Organisational influence has the opportunity to be fairly distributed now that geographic placement of people is less of a factor (a major talent trend /shift I wrote about a few weeks back) and to keep a change momentum several things need to happen. 
– The CSCO needs to empower her or his Global Sourcing / Asian Sourcing head to take part in C-Suite & board-level conversations.
– Supply Chain Cultures need to be primed for change and leaders have to break some rules of bureaucracy in order to create a flexible first organisation
– Skeleton crews can’t be expected to hustle through the Christmas season and in parallel think about as well as initiate evolution. Build an Avengers team that knows the industry (they’ve already worked in the industry)
– Justifying ROI on spending into evolution needs to have a different conversation, a longer-term one with new measures around behavioural as well as cultural changes

The progress that supply chains have made in such a short and pressure cooked time frame has been nothing short of impressive. This potentially temporary state of recovery has helped to charge our batteries (for sure solar ones…), in parallel we need to continue moving towards fundamental shifts.