Retail may not be so great right now but it's about to get better!
I don't particularly enjoy shopping like I use to back when I was a teen. Perhaps I am jaded because I work closely with retail innovation (I've seen what the future holds), but I pretty much view shopping as a chore. I don’t like going into malls and I don’t really want to try on clothing. Online shopping is only slightly better. I have go-to stores online that I browse but the immense catalogues are overwhelming and then the question of “will if fit” (more appropriately, what's the fabric) often deters me altogether from making a purchase. When I do shop for new products it’s almost always based on direct recommendations from friends and indirect recommendations from research. Either way I rely heavily on my peers.
Thankfully, retail is evolving with people like me, in mind as peer influence shopping platforms are becoming the new wave. This is great news for consumers but challenging for retailers who need to adopt new strategies for engaging the customer online through platforms. I am predicting that peer based platform shopping will dominate retail in the very near future.
So why are peer to peer interactions so important? The simple answer is: Consumers are like teenagers.
In this scenario, brands and big retailers are seemingly out of touch teenagers. These parents have great things to offer and would like to spend time with their teens... but as well all know, in the eyes of the teenager, parents aren’t cool and just don't understand. For the teen, the less time a they spend with their parents, the better. The angst filled teen (modern consumer) would much rather take the advice of and spend time with their peers over their "just don't get me" parents.
Without getting into the psychology of group dynamics or the teenage brain it can be understood that the influence of peers is far greater than any other influence when making purchase decisions online. Hence why platforms, allowing peer influence and social shopping in the virtual world, are the best ways to connect the customer to the product. The idea of shopping individual stores blindly on the vast internet without experiential influences, peer direction or social interaction is just not ideal for the modern consumer.
Depending on the brand, retailers can choose the best possible platform based on their customer's characteristic through detailed analysis and simply pick which platforms to adopt. Translating the brand presence and experience into these platforms will prove to be most beneficial for long term success.
Peer Based Platforms for You!
Below I have compiled a list of a current peer based platforms (in no particular order) helping to shape retail:
Interaction with peers who share the same body shape and type. See what they are wearing and follow them!
Post your favorite style trends and interact with others based on their style preferences
Find suggest share and compare your favorite fashion products with your peers
Rent clothing, but see what that clothing looks like on other shoppers by viewing pictures of them in the garments descriptions of their height, weight and body shapes.
Join forums and communities of shoppers who share the same style as you!
Follow your favorite brands and people to see the latest products and trends
Rent Clothing from your peers
Personal stylist hand select your clothing
Personal stylist select clothing for men on a monthly subscription
Men's style curation based on occasions, mood and algorithms
LA based men's affordable streetwear subscription company
I will update this list on my personal blog. If you are a company and you would like to be added please email me! If you haven't heard of these companies or if you aren't using these companies for your brand, take heed. But don't get too attached, the best is yet to come.