Ted Kritsonis, marketnews
Published: 10/24/2011 08:30:02 AM EST in Features
The retail experience as we know it has undergone a fairly radical change in the early 21st century. Storefronts have evolved, supply chains have lengthened, stock has grown larger and more varied, people are less loyal shoppers, and service has become less personal.
Some of the change was fairly dramatic in scope. Multinational corporations with thousands of stores and tens or hundreds of thousands of employees were the ultimate result of the growing post-war consumerism in North America. The customer experience shifted to a point where choice was more abundant than ever.
And the Internet made that even more so, as it made it possible for consumers to get feedback from other consumers, even if they had never met. A simple customer review on a retailer's Website could inform millions on basic points about that person's experience with a product or service.
Customers began educating and qualifying themselves using tools at their disposal, directly from home before even stepping foot into a store. Before long, they could also buy online, never having to set foot in a bricks and mortar store or see a salesperson's face.
Generally speaking, retail shopping has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Customers rarely walk into a store blind, especially younger consumers. They arrive fully armed with information and perspective, often knowing exactly what they want. Getting to those consumers, then, requires a much different presentation than was the case 10 or 20 years ago.