Self-checkouts

Self-checkouts are great for the retailer, well short-term they are. After a period of time, they claw back the investment on the kit by the savings in wages.

Longer term, they lose the human interaction with their customers.

I might be alone here, but part of the attraction of retailing in person is the human interaction versus the sanitised world of click and buy. It is what keeps me going to one shop versus another, it is part of the simple pleasures of life that are systematically being eradicated from our lives.

Lastly, perhaps we could move on from this failed model of the never ending cycle of saving money to increase profits. The only gainers in that model are the shareholders, not the customer or employee.

I prefer to support the human touch.

Trend forecasting

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I was listening today to one of my favourite podcast, 99% Invisible, and the discussion was centred around the very influential and well-used trend forecasters like WGSN.

Many big brands use such companies to get a steer on what’s the next big thing, especially in fashion and other retail.

The challenge is, though, that as these companies have become more and more relied upon, it is almost difficult to know who is influencing who. Is it the research or is it the trend forecasters that are deciding what’s next?

As the never ending cycle of changes in trends has developed, clearly to ensure we are throwing away and constantly updating to the latest fashion in whatever, more of us have grown tired of this manipulation and have wised up.

So increasingly the ‘latest’ trend is becoming a flop.

If you want to stand out, create something different and make your ‘art’ for your customers, not the whole world, you need to ditch the analysis, the trends, the stats, the data and build your thing from the heart, from instinct, from inspiration.

We all buy based on often things we can not describe and it is irrational, the decision comes from what speaks to us. Not from some mass produced trend.

Stand out and ditch the trends if you want to make a splash. After all, no matter how you try to ‘dress it up’ the mini-skirt has been reimagined many times.