Instacart represents an evolutionary path for the retail industry. They do a good job bridging the two worlds in retail. Crowdsourcing is a dead end though. The technological path for retail is going back to its roots.
Retail solves several problems for the consumer. It resolves time, finance, space and information problems of each customer to various individual extents. Industrial retail traditionally has been inward-facing, outbound oriented, aiming to industrialize the retail consumer. The industrialized consumer, being left with little choice, has taken it in stride.
The non-industrial retail, the old heavy-duty retail, is coming back thanks to the digital age. Good old retail is outward-facing, inbound oriented and omnichannel by nature. It constantly defines its neighbourhood and computes its fitment to that neighbourhood. It is expensive and hard work, in return for its high rewards. The new old (let’s call it neo) retail requires more expense and harder work, and its returns are higher still.
The neo retail influences consumer behaviour by asking the customer of their insides. And taking it in stride. The technical ways and means to ask, observe, capture and learn the individual customer’s needs are available at low costs today. Operating the enterprise upon that data is just as viable.
For the neo retailer the work of analyses and optimizations is outside the shop than inside it. The neo retailer makes a habit of keeping high prices and earning them. Walmart and Neiman Marcus have more in common than meets the eye.
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