of digital communities spanning the physical globe; social networking and viral communication intersect with retail—shopping
becomes a social experience. Products and services must be personal, personalized, and created so that individuals can have it
“their way,” now. The brand and retail experience are literally connected and accessible to the individual wherever they are through
the web, technology, neighborhooding, and local brick and mortar
stores (which celebrate the community in which they are located).
The design of all retail touch points, both physical and virtual, will
be more important than ever to keep a brand positioned to be visible, maintain/improve its perceived value, and help individuals
identify retailers that align with their core beliefs and lifestyle.
Cost: Doing as much as possible with the least amount of
expense for both the individual and the retailer is critical. For the
retailer, it will be the 4c recipe that defines the cost parameters
and at which end of the seR/ctR scale a retailer finds itself. For
the individual, it will be based on their personal view of the per-
ceived value of the product or service being offered. if a retailer
is at the ctR end of the scale, lowest cost and convenience will be
paramount. For those at the seR end, brand equity, alignment,
and integration with their personal goals, lifestyle/lifestage and
community will be crucial. For both seR and ctR, global/local
manufacturing approaches, supply chain management, inven-
tory control, and delivery systems will not only continue to have
huge cost implications, but as customers demand personalization/
individualization of all of their goods and services, being able
to manage customized, mass produced goods “on-demand” will be
the real challenge with respect to cost, selection, and providing the
instant gratification shoppers desire.
While evolving to seR and ctR in the next five or so years is an
evolutionary step, this zeitgeist army will not stop until it achieves
total convergence—empowered by social networking concepts
and technology we can barely imagine. For retailing, it means the
next five, ten, forty years will be exciting times of experimentation
and constant reinvention. One can only imagine how the retail
landscape will appear at these future points in time as a result of
retail’s rising star becoming inadvertently hitched to Moore’s law.
can a “Retail singularity” (Rs) be far behind?
Kenneth A. Gruskin, AIA, is president and founder of Springfield,
N.J.-based Gruskin Group™, an integrated retail design firm that
builds unified brand experiences through architecture, brand development, visual communications, web/interactive, industrial design,
interior design, strategic consulting, and sustainable design. Visit
www.gruskingroup.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org,