My one-time boss, Publicis Strategy Head Rishad Tobaccowala once opined with his trademark blend of sagesse and wit, “The trend is your friend.” Those four words work equally well in the worlds of investing, marketing and business development. As we enter the nth phase of ‘software eating the world’, in this case, retail, the signs of the trend picking up, are seemingly everywhere.
A series of recent blog posts, newsletters and media launches all point to the rising digital tide in the retail world. An increasingly seamless, frictionless, personalized universe where the merchant gets you, they really, really get you. Moreover there is a community for you to interact with and it all arrives in your home with nothing more than a click, swipe, or voice command.
What are these signposts on the way to a retail nirvana?
Soothsayer and investment guru Howard Lindzon, posted another in his series ‘The Death of Retail is the Birth of Retail,’ hearkening back to the rise of the DNVB (Digitally Native Vertical Brand) and the brightness for both DTC brands as well as software in the stack that serves them.
Publisher Digiday memorialized the trend with the launch of a new vertical Modern Retail, stating simply, “The retail industry is going through an unprecedented period of change — or, if you believe the headlines, heading towards an apocalypse.” The framing of this new take on the retail world by Modern Retail echoes Howard’s view that it is Amazon vs the little guy and the little guy is armed with a software stack, Instagram and the power of branding. Modern Retail immediately began publishing exceptional content like this post on how brands are using data to drive personalization, or this one on how DTC may be a misnomer, demonstrating they get it, they are here to provide value, and may, as per their charter be a catalyzing force for the industry.
The saying amongst recovering journalists like myself is that three makes a trend. The clever ‘Why is this Interesting’ newsletter from Percolate co-founder Noah Brier and strategy guy Colin Nagy looked at the DNVB Tracksmith and in so doing truly broke down the development of the space in a cogent and meaningful fashion.
“The first wave of DTC were disruptive and interesting. The Caspers and Warbys of the world. The second wave were perhaps a bit more opportunistic, chasing the gold rush of capital and seemingly less interested in the intangible magic that makes a long-standing and iconic brand… But perhaps a third wave of these types of brands can balance a heartbeat with the spirit that goes into a category disruptor.”
– From the June 11th edition of ‘Why is This Interesting’
And in parting, I would just add the following; the collective power of a brand + personalization + considered use of software truly suggests a new universe of omnichannel experience is in the offing.