Relationships are the new currency and will continue to drive changes in overall consumer behavior and especially shopping patterns.

The way people shop and purchase is changing, driven by dynamic shifts in technology as well as culture and lifestyle. Consumers want more from where they shop. They value community and favor unique experiences over material goods (“stuff”). This is true for consumers of all types, consider this, 1 in 3 people in the world are on Facebook.

The retail industry is embracing consumers’ desire for thoughtful commerce. Researched and considered purchases, sustain-ability, community, sharing, personalized, mission-driven, social selling, giving back, influencers, resale and re-use are all becoming critical elements of retail and consumer experiences today.

Relationships are the new currency and will continue to drive changes in overall consumer behavior and especially shopping patterns. Return on Relationship will be the new performance metric.

Table Stakes – Have a Reason for Being and Deliver it Anytime, Anyplace

Authenticity is a key element driving success across industries today. Consumers consider themselves to be the center of the retail and experiential ecosystem today. As a result, they are becoming more and more channel agnostic, preferring to transact and engage whenever, wherever and through whatever channel they choose. No matter where, when, or how they choose to engage, they expect a consistent, high-quality experience every time.

Technology has made information, education, ideas and experiences more accessible than ever before. It has become a foundational element of the new retail world. Technology has already changed the way retail is conducted, and will continue to do so in the future.

Some of the technologies “disrupting” today’s retail landscape are:

Experiences through Virtual Reality – allows consumers to take part in experiences outside of their immediate physical area.

Payment as Social Currency (such as Venmo / Apple Pay / WeChat / PayPal) – new methods of payment are making transacting not only easier, but social

Personal Recommendations through Augmented Reality – the ability to provide real-time recommendations in the physical retail environment.

Current Trends


Consumers prefer to shop where their needs are best met, however, when given a choice, they are more likely to shop brands that reflect and support the things they believe in, stand for and support.

Examples – Feed, World Wild Life Fund, Moma


Today’s consumer wants to create memorable experiences, and wants to share those experiences and ideas with a community.

Examples – Apple, Lululemon, Eataly, Starbucks


Social selling and influencers are playing an increasingly vital role in the decisions of consumers. Whether it be through social media and peer sharing, curated editorials, digital personal stylists, or via a celebrity or political endorsement, people are increasingly inspired by others and not brand-generated messages.

Examples – Toms, Tesla


Consumers are increasingly channel agnostic. Traditional constraints are being left behind as customers drive retail format and channel innovation, from mobile shopping, to self-check outs, to crowd sourced buying blocks. Retail is no longer a fixed or static commodity.

Examples – Amazon, Starbucks, Sephora, Peloton


We live in a sharing economy, sharing of ideas, sharing of economics, sharing the experience, sharing resources, sharing our time, sharing transportation, even sharing our homes. Pooling resources, thoughts and ideas has become an enabler within our connected society. Sharing based business such as Zipcar, Yelp and AirBnB reinforce these shifts in consumer behavior

Examples – Zipcar, Yelp, AirBnB, ebay, Rent the Runway,


Personalization is growing inimportance. Having something made for you, or even made by you, creates a more meaningful and tailored experience. New technologies are democratizing personalized product, services and experiences. At the same time, artificial Intelligence capabilities are personalizing the types of products presented to consumers as a result of their preferences and “opt in” profiles.

Examples – Lululemon, Coca Cola, Nike, Instagram, Spotify

Living Breathing Evolving

Today’s consumer landscape is in a state of continual change and evolution, there are no longer generalized one-way models, but more and more unique multi-directional models that work for the individual consumers and brands. This is the new normal, only consultants and brands that are living, evolving and growing will be able to survive and flourish.


This article was developed in collaboration by dash design and The Grayson Company.