By Kenneth Gruskin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, fickle and demanding consumers can access virtually anything they want as a result of technology such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. This anytime, anywhere access coupled with what can be referred to as the four ‘C’s’ — convergence, convenience, connection, and cost — are having a dramatic impact on retailers.
Because the virtual and real world of retail has finally converged for the consumer, retailers must do far more than update their retail environments every three to five years in order to keep customers engaged in a “social experience retailing” environment. In order to stay ahead of their customers’ expectations, they need to update their environments (real and virtual) on an ongoing basis.
To that end, retailers will need to offer their own unique recipe of the four Cs, which are defined as follows:
The Convergence of social networking, commerce, and technology will create an augmented reality (AR) that will help to close the digital divide that separates our physical and virtual domains. For chain stores, that means that customers may be able to go online and create or order, personalize and customize goods ranging from takeout dinners to a new pair of shoes before heading to the convenience store or department store for pick up.
In addition, another kind of convergence will take place as retailers form brand sharing partnerships with non-competing but complementary retailers to provide even more compelling alignments that will attract customers and get them invited into their lives and communities.
Convenience as afforded by retail products, services, and virtual goods that are provided through multiple physical and virtual channels will become ubiquitous to the end user. Chain retailers will offer neighborhooding through smaller and better trained, localized brick-and-mortar facilities that support its embedded customer base. In addition, they will offer bundled goods and services to afford one-stop shopping to the consumer. Imagine being able to pic