Our culture is constantly changing. Here are three shifts to watch right now:
Buying has become an “always on” activity. The phrase “go shopping” should be retired and nailed to the wall, like an old football player’s jersey. Shopping has always been a verb, but it has moved beyond that, thanks to social media. The act of buying can now feel almost passive – like something that can just happen whether you intended to or not. Here’s an everyday example: Imagine you’re about to go to sleep, but you make one last check of Instagram before turning out the lights. You notice all the ads, of course, but you brush past them. Then you see that one of your friends is gushing about a book she just finished. You decide the book sounds perfect for your upcoming vacation and immediately buy the paperback online, from your phone, while you’re half asleep and tucked under the covers. It arrives at your house the next day, and it’s a surprise, because you forgot you bought it. You panic for a split second and wonder if you ordered anything else. Did you intend to go “shopping” when you crawled into bed that night? No. It happened anyway. And it’s going to continue to happen, as entertainment and shopping become even more intertwined. The fact that shopping has become an “always on” activity requires marketers to adjust the way we think about everything from customer journeys to shopping occasions to moments of truth. What if every moment we’re alive is a moment of truth?
We are all filming the documentary of our own lives. Who needs a Netflix deal when we are constantly filming – and streaming – our own life stories? Life has become one big photo opportunity waiting to happen. Our tool is the smartphone, our medium is the social network. We walk through the world with with a mental “reel” in our heads, constantly framing scenes that would make great photos or videos. (And of course we’re thinking about the clever captions that would accompany them, too.) This is why it’s important for any business with physical locations to understand the power of visual storytelling, because your customers are looking for opportunities to share their experiences. Look at your own physical space and ask yourself: what is photo-worthy here? If the answer is, “not much,” you have a major opportunity to get creative and drive more sales and engagement.
When it comes to fashion, anything goes. Style – what is style? Trendy – what is trendy? Anything goes. Just the other day, I asked a college student about her favorite fashion brands. Her answer: “I don’t really have one – I mostly thrift.” She’s not alone. Gen Z is paving the way for sustainable fashion. Thrifing, resale, swapping, renting – it’s all fair game. Covid and supply-chain disruptions brought an abrupt halt to much of the ecosystem built around fashion trends. I used to pay attention to stories with headlines like, “Low rise jeans are back.” Not anymore. People are dressing the way they want and it is liberating, particularly for women, who have long been under scrutiny for their wardrobe choices. I am now rediscovering clothes from my closet that are as old as my first MacBook, wearing them with something new (to me), and what I’ve found is that nobody notices or cares – in a good way. What happens in fashion tends to have a domino effect on other consumers businesses, which is why it’s important to watch this trend.