Brian Walker

Time abides long enough for those who make use of it.
Leonardo da Vinci.

Recently, we have been working with our clients and commentating on the growing divide between buying and shopping,

Innovative technology is a great accelerant and change agent to consumerism. The adaptative world of technological enhancement such as artificial intelligence, predictive and immersive technology platforms, are impacting society rapidly and in turn retail trends.

Retailers who are aware of the changes in consumer behaviour will be much better positioned to grow their retail strategy successfully as they will better understand the context for growth and the alignment of strategy to real customer drivers.

Our research shows some recent trends to be aware of, including:

Deliver information in real time:
Time starved yet knowledge-hungry consumers are behind the Catch Me in Seconds trend. Today’s consumers look to businesses to help them get to the information they need in a concise and impactful way. In 2020 and beyond, businesses will have to connect with consumers on a more personal and emotional level to engage them.

A precise understanding of consumers (and demographics alone simply doesn’t cut it) is fundamental to a true insights-driven-strategy.

Private Personalisation:
Consumers want and expect brands to tailor their products and services to them, however, to do this, they must share personal information. This conflict leads to Euromonitor’s Private Personalisation trend. Convenience and experiences are leading to consumers wanting to invest in smart devices but concerns about their privacy means they are searching for ways of controlling accessibility to them and their information. For business it is important to explore new models to reach and deepen their relationships with consumers​ and build trust or develop products and services that add enough added value for consumers to encourage them to share.

The Global Brain
The Internet of Things is already here and by 2020 over 30 billion devices will be connected. We see ‘deep learning’ inspired by artificial ‘neural networks’ and evolved ‘augmented reality’. This enables huge opportunities in all areas of life: politics, education, media, health, commerce and leisure. The Internet will soon be connected to everything including our brains – enabling fast and accurate decoding of multi-layered information.

The use of Time – Time well spent or time well used:
Retailers will increasingly need to be very clear on the investment they want consumers to make into their business offer and address this very simple question.

 Is their offer fundamentally a service or product base?

Brand offers predicated on the range, convenience, speed to market, price, fulfillment such as online dominated, or high range, value end of the segment. Perhaps it’s a service offer such as Uber or a marketplace offer such as Ebay. Here trends of personalisation, information in real-time and the global brain rise to the forefront. This is the main factor of the buying/shopping divide.

 Or conversely, the high touch experiential human experience of shopping and associated community experiences that provide the avenue for time well spent creating more social, engaging contexts in providing theatre and entertainment into the visiting/shopping experience.

In both instances, time becomes the currency of retail, and knowing which currency to call on is the domain of smart retailers. Naturally, these are not mutually exclusive customer segments, rather that time is dictating how they wish to connect with your brand increasingly.

Know me, connected and predictive of my needs? Time well spent or time well used? That’s for you to decide.

Brian Walker is the Founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group, a retail advisory and consultancy group and the Australian elected partner member of the global retail expert’s alliance Ebeltoft Group. Email:

Have a look at previous articles written by the experts Retail Doctor Group:

  1. It’s time to fall in love with your brand again
  2. The Post COVID World – why physical shopping rules
  3. How to predict your customer’s needs post Covid-19?