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Retailers: Change the Experience, Educate Consumers
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We have been talking at length now about the importance of educating the consumer on the products that they are purchasing. We are well aware of the facts and figures about consumers being the "most informed" people ever when it comes to having access to information, but their actions show that only a plurality actually access and retain the information.

The majority still need assistance in learning about the right product for them.

Indeed, even the consumers claiming that they know about the product may not be able to determine their actual need and could potentially buy the wrong product. This "informed" consumer could then post and proclaim their bad experience with the product because it didn't match up with the feeling or problem the consumer was experiencing.

Education, therefore, is imperative.

That is what PSFK's Future of Retail 2016 report concludes as well. The report highlights the actions that brands are taking to redesign the retail experience to make it not only more engaging, but more educational. The article that showcases the report looks at brands like Lululemon, which is changing its lineup of clothing to express more of how people should feel when wearing a particular style.

Yes, the future retail experience will be less of a sales-heavy operation and more of an educational brand lab. Consumers will come with expectations of certain styles and brands and will use these brick-and-mortar locations as testing sites to either confirm or re-assess their decisions.

Advertising's role will be to aid in changing the perception of the retail store. Instead of offering sales and discounts to drive foot traffic, advertising can fulfill its role of informing through showing the curtailed retail experience. Ads can entice the customer to test their decisions and leave with the best possible product. Advertising can showcase the incredibly smart and well-informed brand associates, who can help them along their path of discovering exactly the right product for them.

With this model, the future of retail could be much better than we all thought.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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