Curators at the heart of shopping

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The post on Monday from Pinterest sent them straight to the heart of shopping. The social curator site has now made it possible for brands and retailers to include pricing, availability and where to buy. Target, Walmart and eBay are among some of the names to sign up. http://blog.pinterest.com/post/50883178638/introducing-more-useful-pins.

Currently it only works when you pin from a brand or retailer site and we are yet to see the functionality that might follow, but given how we see people using Pinterest we are sure to see solutions that move shoppers from inspiration to sale.

That leap was made with ‘chip-it’ from Sherwin Wiliams, an idea from Cheil family agency McKinney in the USA. The applet enabled people searching for inspiration in home decoration to ‘chip’ an image, break it down into a palette of paint colours and save it to social platforms. When they are moved to buy they simply take the ‘chip’ in-store.

Connecting the store and social is inspiring innovation. The Tapestry app is a physical bookmarking tool developed by the Guided Collective and trialled at Diesel’s Westfield London store in 2012 http://wp.me/p1mP6n-Zi . Shoppers simply tap or scan the product code they like and it goes into their Tapestry, where they can curate and access digital content including expert reviews from bloggers, fashion shows and information about each piece including as size, colour and price.

For retailers this raises a question; traditionally they have been editors of choice, but people are now curating for themselves or looking to people they trust, can retailers become their curators of choice?

Human emotion will always be analogue

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It’s a little over 2 years since Cheil created a virtual shopping experience in a Seoul subway for Tesco Homeplus. It went on to win recognition at the Cannes Lions, SXSWi and the World Retail Congress Awards. It has also become the go to case study to showcase innovation and change in retail and has been copied by retailers all over the world.

Since then we’ve seen the reality of the long expected seismic shift in retail. With the entry of new players reinventing entire categories, we have seen ‘traditional’ big names struggling to reinvent themselves and some having to closing their doors. Digital, as predicted, has changed everything.

Today our shopper is always-on, one click on a smart phone from a retail environment.  Our new expectations of retail are that it is Everywhere, Instant and Personal.

But there is one thing that has not changed, us. As shoppers we are still human beings and the foundation of our decision making, our emotions, remain analogue.

Our lives, in essence have not fundamentally changed; we still desire products and services that solve problems and seek relationships with brands that care about the things we care about.

The paradox of choice* continues to undermine our confidence in our decisions, particularly in categories that have become increasingly complex, with features and technologies making it even harder to figure out human benefit.

We have been trained by retailers to buy on discounts, so we seek emotional reward in value.

And we love New!

Shoppers will continue to seek out emotional connection, connection with Ideas That Move them. And at a time when everything that can be digital, will be digital, there is danger for those that forget this basic human truth.

* The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less. Barry Schwartz, 2004