The Data Digest: A New Retail Reality, Boxed Up
They say that good things come in small packages – and it seems that those consumers who have signed up with the burgeoning wave of subscription services know this to be true. Today, whether you’re looking for fine wine or baby food, artistic inspiration or masculine essentials, you don’t have to leave your home to get – or even search for – the items yourself; the box delivered to your door may have just what you’re hoping for.
Subscription services are relatively new, but consumer awareness of and interest in the concept are growing. I recently became a customer of Stitchfix – and while I might be among just a handful of consumers who’ve actually signed up, nearly one-fifth of US online adults are interested in similar services. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that interest is particularly high among young shoppers:
Are subscription services here to stay? The New York Times calls the concept “the latest consumer craze,” but some of the biggest retailers are now closing stores due to declining sales in their brick-and-mortar locations. And will such services change our social environment by making us more passive homebodies? Some subscriptions even promise to deliver the feeling of a summer vacation — minus flight bookings and actual travel time! The jury is still out on the impact and implication of such services, but one takeaway is clear: These companies are pushing the envelope when it comes to using customer data strategically, anticipating consumer desires, and delivering hyperpersonalized service.
In her recent report, my colleague Sucharita Mulpuru writes that “personalization technologies [are one of the] digital solutions that already have some adoption and are likely to have the greatest impact on retailer expenses.” Sucharita says that “the ‘Spotify of shopping’ doesn’t exist yet, but […] companies that aggregate massive databases of brands, sizes, and shapes could represent a significant improvement by reducing waste and better matching shoppers to their needs.”