The Present and Future of Retail: A Culture of Consumer Centricity


Author: Cammy Pedroja, PhD

Gone are the days when an entrepreneur could simply rent a storefront on main street, set up shop, slap on an attractive store sign, and wait for the customers to wander in. Recently, we at Find the Fit wrote about the fashion industry’s need to stay at the forefront of digital technology in order to produce the kind of personalized or customizable product that today’s retail customers are demanding in the rapidly changing marketplace. Now, we want to talk about the kind of forward-thinking selling and marketing strategies that will keep a modern fashion retailer from getting left behind.

Why the Customer’s Shopping Habits are Always Right

It used to be that customers would engage with your business by making an effort to come to you. That could mean a visit to your brick and mortar store, snail-mailing an order form, or calling you up to place an order over phone. Today (and increasingly into the future) fashion retailers need to meet the customer wherever they are by expanding their strategies to cover multiple shopping channels. From traditional physical and digital stores, to mass market and niche e-commerce sites, to social media platforms, fashion retailers that learn and adapt to their customers’ habits and lifestyles will be the winners of the industry’s near future. According to a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review, this kind of omnichannel strategy is proving to be not only effective, but practically essential for keeping a “competitive edge” in a world where in-person shopping continues to decline, and online retailers have more and more competition.

Consumer Centricity in Practice

A 2017 study of North American retailers revealed that only 22% considered developing an omnichannel strategy as a highest order concern. However, as more and more research comes out saying that omnichannel customers (shoppers who engage with a brand over multiple platforms) come with higher brand loyalty, as well as increased lifetime value, this statistic is likely to change for businesses with staying power. So how should a fashion retailer go about designing and implementing this kind of selling model?

Note these 3 Traits of Successful Omnichannel Strategies in Retail Fashion
(Adapted from The Robin Report)

  1. In-depth data collecting and analysis of the customer’s habits, with an emphasis on predicting their buying needs/trends.
  2. Creating company positions directly related to tracking, interpreting, and improving consumer success, as well as recruiting employees with an understanding of consumer centricity.
  3. A careful and data-based social-engagement strategy that builds brand loyalty and provides tons of raw data for consumer analysis.

So, how does your business strategy stack up? What changes will you make to keep up with quickly-evolving retail channels?


Photo: BizTech