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What consumers really want

Irreverent, innovative and downright inspirational, retail futurist Howard Saunders offers a simple but powerful insight for retailers everywhere: technology is about creating connections, not selling stuff.

What consumers really want

Thanks to technology, retail customers are smarter, better informed and have access to more choices than ever before – so what do they really want from retailers? If retail futurist Howard Saunders is right, they want an authentic, genuine connection.



Howard Saunders, Retail Futurist

The truth is, we don’t need any more stuff. There’s no one here that needs a t-shirt or a pen or a watch. We’ve all got them.

We don’t need shoes, we’re wearing them.

There’s something else going on and what retail really does – it reaches out and touches you and it’s about connecting.

If you’re a brand, it means having a personality and a character.

It means hosting, I like to say, like a dinner party and can you imagine going to a dinner party and sitting at the end of this table, the host is the brand and all he does is talk about himself or talk about herself all night.

Here’s a thought: maybe the host has to sort of ask us something occasionally. Make us feel involved.

That’s a dialogue and that’s what brands are having – are having to learn to do.

There’s a defining moment, and it was 2008 – I call it the apocalypse and you call it the GFC [global financial crisis] and the UK call it the recession or whatever. The truth is, it all changed at that point.

We built a new set of rules and we want brands with a bit more meaning.

Prior to 2008, we had a phone; 2008 onwards, we had a computer, a personal computer that knows everything about us.

So we’re all looking down at our phones, constantly looking, what are we doing? Escaping the universe?

We’re not escaping the universe, we’re looking into it, we’re having a dialogue with somebody and something. We’re playing a game, we’re looking at tweets, we’re replying, we’re playing scrabble, we’re doing, we’re engaging in something because the room we’re in isn’t very interesting.

Customers are smart, they’re not just mobile. They’re smart, they’ve read up, they’ve looked online, they know more about the product than the staff in so many instances. So you’re – you’re going to see a huge shift towards a new form of hospitality.

Discover how retailers are using technology from Telstra to make and sustain the connections they need to succeed.

Find out more

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