Retail: the irreversible trend towards postcanality

Andrea Negrin
23 Apr 2017
The three golden rules that marked the retail for decades were 'location-location-location'. These have been challenged by the advent of eCommerce and, from that moment, the 'brick&mortar' retail began to crumble as the bricks used to build it. The new rules for the success of Retail are still to be written, if they ever will be, but some evolutionary trends - which only a few years ago seemed to be far from being completed and understood - are now firmly established, such as the use of 'mobile' in e-commerce. One thing is certain: at any latitude, consumer behavior evolves faster than technology. In the past, technology influenced consumer habits, but in the future the consumer will determine its development. The two worlds of traditional and online commerce are mixed in 'omnicanality', which forces retailers to interact with customers in the continuity of their buying experience, in any physical or digital sales channel. A 'seamless' buying experience, in which the customer should not even notice differences. The concept is so well acquired that it already prefigures the 'postcanality', the overcoming of the concept of 'sales channel'. While in the past the relationship between brand and customer was mediated by the 'sales channel', today the relationship between the company and the customer is direct: the purchase channel is a consequence, not a premise: the relationship with customers will have to be acquired and consolidated before entering the shops, 'off or online'. It will have to be done quickly, first, or at least, better than the manufacturers that will sell directly online. In doing so, they will have to provide customers with the same positivity of the buying experience in the different chosen 'channels', and any negative experience will have a consequence on any other relationship with the customer. It is a radical change in how to act on the market: from "business-channel-customer" triangulation to the new "customer-channel-company". Retail is called to a tough and different competition, the synthesis of which will no longer be, as in the past, 'location / location / location' but 'client / client / customer': welcome to postcanality.