by Sara Rodell, CEO and founder of Loop & Tie
As entrepreneurs and professionals, it is our job to notice behavioral shifts and assess how they’ll impact our businesses and our future.
I’ve been fascinated by the shifting consumer behavior in retail. Consumers are voting with their wallets for brands that facilitate personal choice and maker connections. Digital platforms and social networks have changed the relationship between brands and consumer. Consumers have an expectation to be treated as individuals, no matter how large the brand they’re dealing with. Just think, companies used to publish PO Box addresses as the medium to receive customer feedback. Now, a customer can tweet at the brand and if there’s not a near immediate response the relationship is at risk.
Social networks helped change the consumer expectation that large brands would communicate with them as individuals. This expectation and preference for personalized treatment has moved from a communication preference in to the product realm.
Tesla took market share by allowing consumers to customize a car and have it delivered. Progressive created tools to customize insurance coverage. The norm isn’t to just “see what’s on” when it’s TV time, it’s an active choice: perusing the DVR options or going directly to Prime Video, Netflix or Hulu to actively decide what to watch.
The broadcast approach no longer works.
In 2018, there will be more online shopping than ever before. The availability of products and information online, and this vast increase in choices has given consumers leverage over the big corporations. Retail stores have embraced this hyper customization too. From choosing your sleep number to making your own froyo dessert, hyper customization is here to stay and will change the way everyone shops. Even industries you may never think to conform to this are jumping on board, like buying furniture. This trend has already affected the economy and in turn will change how businesses market to their customers.
Adapting to this choice revolution is important because consumers are looking for more than just the transaction. They need to feel like they are in control of their decision and have options for what you are offering. It is a sense of consumer pride when they feel as though they helped make their decision in a purchase and they feel connected to the brand behind the object.
I’ve been fortunate to realize early on how much the age of choice is driving the industry in a new direction. My company Loop & Tie is the only gifting solution is designed to match this consumer shift. Through the notion of gifting a collection of options, we replace the dated gifting practice of sending the same product to everyone. Instead, the recipient is invited into a branded digital choice experience. The recipient chooses the item they value the most and it’s shipped to their doorstep. Creatively packaging choice is the key to scalable personalization. Our gifters can select from pre-curated Loop & Tie collections ranging from $25-$500 or gift their own products. Loop & Tie’s first-to-market technology keeps the price hidden from users, but gives them the power to choose the gift most suitable to them.
Choice also facilitates discovery and makes the consumer an active participant in the process. Technology has created a hyper customization expectation among consumers that will ultimately leave winners and losers. The power is shifting to consumers and if you fail to see this, you’ll lose valuable sales to competitors that do understand it. If you can make your offer clear to consumers, you will acquire more customers than ever before and be a winner in The Choice Revolution.
Sara Rodell is the CEO and founder of Loop & Tie, a gift choice platform that lets businesses treat their customers to choices of unique gifts from makers around the US. After cutting her professional teeth in Wall Street finance at the top-tier UBS Investment Bank, Rodell set out to change the world of gifting with Loop & Tie. Recently, Loop & Tie won Dreampitch 2017, the world’s largest software conference.