When you take time out to better understand things from the 'consumer' point of view you tend to create a more internally and externally aligned match, if done right it delivers a closer fit with what your offering to the consumer.

As a result your business becomes more productive, relevant, and profitable.

Sounds obvious doesn't it?

Over the last 25 years eCommerce has changed the global retail landscape, and for many upended the 20th Century physical retail model that some still cling onto.

Yet, today the majority of retail and eCommerce players in the west are still operating with a 'funnel' and transaction biased mindset - and in my opinion they are missing a huge opportunity.

Over the past decade, China’s ACG (Anime, Comic and Games) subculture has gone increasingly mainstream, emerging as one of the most important channels for reaching millennial and Gen Z consumers.

If you have teenagers stop, take a look, and a serious listen to how they behaved not only during this pandemic but every day - they might be your kids but these are the future of a retail opportunity.

Millennials have grown up in a 'gaming' world, as one of the first generations to grow up knowing nothing other than free to use, free to access, digital worlds they are socially savvy and being 'online' is simply where they choose to be via whatever device is handy for the purpose intended.

They, and millions of others like them are today's way out of what was.

They don't just want to be taken down an eCommerce 'funnel', they demand more and those companies that deliver are going to be the winners.

One of the key hallmarks of China’s ACG community is that those who identify as enthusiasts spend a lot of time online.  

As of June 2020, the platform had nearly 172 million average monthly active users and 12.9 million paid subscribers, and thanks to recent deals like Sony’s purchase of nearly 5% of Bilibili in April 2020, the platform will have a steady supply of anime and online gaming content to keep its millions-strong user base entertained for the foreseeable future.

The key take out from this is that for all manner of retail brands to remain relevant today and in the future they are going to have to rely more and more on content that their customers can relate to, not the self promotional noise that people are turning away from.

The challenge for retail is 'how do we move away from the advertise and promote' transaction messaging that still seems to pervade every retail brand of today and create content that is relatable, immersive, engaging and consistent? 

Social Media is no longer an extension of your customer service department or something that's done by the guy with the beard or the girl with the tattoo in marketing. 

How about using that training to activate at least 10% of the aggregated workforce to give a non brand police view of the really good reasons to work and shop at each of these companies?

All this training can be done remotely, it can be done today using all those technologies you are using to keep staff motivated, inform suppliers and ensure you continue to be front of mind for your clients and customers.

Once you look in the mirror and accept that change is constant, and what worked yesterday won't work today - then maybe, just maybe you can truly start to change and grow.