Think Tank: Why Curation Is the Death of Retail as We Know It

Erik Morton is Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development for CommerceHub

Erik Morton, senior vice president of strategic development at CommerceHub, sees product assortment and relevancy as key.

Changes in consumer behavior, driven by an always-online lifestyle, are forcing retailers to rethink age-old practices across their organizations. The continuously evolving digital landscape is resulting in an age of hyper change where the old way of doing things is simply no longer going to cut it.

When searching for inspiration, we are much likely to turn to Instagram, Houzz, Snapchat and Pinterest than browsing through retailers’ meticulously merchandized category tree. Indeed, the idea of starting to research a product on the web site of a specific retailer is almost alien to Millennials, who are far more likely to start their path to purchase on social channels or Google.

For the digital native, social engagement and engaging content provides the inspiration for the purchase decision and then guides them in the direction of where they can seek out retailers to satisfy their need for instant gratification. Retailers without the assortment breadth and exposure to emerging consumer channels are risking a harsh reality where they miss out on growth that naturally follows new consumer behavior.

Only Amazon can honestly claim to be a one-stop destination — both a retailer and a first stop for consumers researching purchases. Shoppers are now finding their inspiration from authentic sources that are free from the bias of the online shopkeeper. Retailers are now unlikely to influence consumers’ tastes as they could back in the good old days.

Online stores with large product assortments have a much better chance of competing in a war for the attention of their future customers. Forget webrooming and showrooming, sophisticated users now seamlessly drift between the two.

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