I was at the Javelin “Future of Retail” event on Friday and the title for this blog is a quote from Laura Wade-Gery, Exec Director of Multi-Channel at M&S.
“The future of retail is where publishing meets commerce.” I have been ranting on about this for years so it was a almost a relief to hear those words, and particularly from one of Britain’s biggest retail institutions. Perhaps I can now get off my soap box and start helping retailers become publishers.
But what did Laura mean? Clearly this has been driven by the rise of the internet, e-commerce and social media, but the concept of fusing publishing with commerce is valid in the world of bricks and mortar as well now. It is about tapping into the psyche of the “new consumer”, Gen Y. I call them “Gen C”, “C” standing for connected, co-creators, collaborators, chameleons ……
Gen C goes shopping armed with her connected device, today a smartphone, tomorrow it might be called something different. She is a publisher herself. She is going shopping with her 500 plus Facebook friends in tow. She has fused her social life with technology and she is broadcasting everywhere she goes. She listens to her friends and cares about what they think. Her society is a network, not a hierarchy. So if retailers are ever going to be able to truly connect with this “new consumer” and her friends that influence her, they are going to need to adopt a similar psyche and, in part, that means becoming publishers themselves.
How you do that authentically and practically is a whole other subject …..