The real meaning of buzzwords


 

Words are thrown around and almost overused, and often leave us wondering “what do they really mean?”.

Contributor: Karen Kritzer

 

 

Karen Kritzer

 

 

Each year the market is saturated with catch phrases and buzzwords. For large retailers, their meanings are usually easy to pinpoint and it is quite obvious as to how they can be applied to the day-to-day running of a business. For a small-scale retail operation, it is important to be relevant and aware of the trends, but it is essential to integrate the principles of buzzwords in a strategic way that can help bring results and impact the business in a successful way.


Let’s examine a few words that will continue to be popular into 2019.

 

 

Prosumerism

 

DEFINITION:
Everyone is an expert these days. Essentially that is what “prosumerism” is.


People are showcasing their recent product reviews and posting online content in proficient levels, and they are creating big excitement surrounding this topic. This elevates everyone’s credibility and makes everyone a strong influencer as they offer their own testimonials. In return, what happens? Essentially consumers’ needs increase demand and production of products increases. A full circle effect. The hard part is that the demand can be very short lived, or it can have a longer life which can be hard to predict. Fashion has been at the base of this phenomenon for years now. Runway shows highlight the latest and greatest trends. Consumers crave those looks right now, and through careful quick production, the knock-off items which are close look-alikes can be produced with a quick turnaround time, and then shipped to stores. The prime example on the market today is Inditex and Zara. They have been able to master this process.

 

 

 

 

Omnichannel

 

DEFINITION:
Really, if applicable, it can be broken down to translating that all levels of the business are inline. This includes ordering, shipping, online sales, and pickup points.


“Omnichannel” has been a hot word for a few years now. If any or all of the elements cited above are present, or are being considered for a business, it just means that one should “cross their t’s and dot their i’s". Clicks to bricks and how shoppers are meeting the product assortment are changing on a dime. Being aware of how a customer expects to be treated within each retail location is important to understand. When in doubt, ask customers directly if they are satisfied with the services being offered. Amazon has set the bar high, especially with next-day delivery and record shipping times. Customers have now been trained to expect next-day delivery and studies show that they do not want to wait any longer than four days maximum for their items to arrive on their doorstep. But truthfully, more often than not customers are willing to wait a bit longer and they are pretty understanding as long as their satisfaction with the end product is what they had hoped. More and more they are also craving face-to-face interaction and in-store experiences. Shipping to stores for that economical option of in-store pickup can help drive traffic into the physical store. This means that the customer will constantly need to be entertained, surprised or welcomed in new and innovative ways!

 

 

 

 

Influencer

 

DEFINITION:
Upon looking at this word more closely there are numerous knowledgeable influencers existing right within a business already. Sales clerks and customer service representatives are primary sources of information and product knowledge within a physical store setting.


As a retailer, a marketing budget may not house a large portion within it for paying out an “Influencer”. However, don't underestimate your sales staff. They have a pulse on the product assortment and what customers want as they are on the “front lines” of the sales floor. Associating an influencer with a brand is simple: begin by asking sales associates to contribute by selecting weekly staff picks, offering their opinion on the buying assortment, and contributing to promotional blogs and social media posts.

 

 

 

 

Customization

 

DEFINITION:
It’s one of a kind and exclusive!


Who doesn’t love a unique gift or product that is customized or personalized? “Customization” has gained momentum the past few years and it is showing no signs of slowing down. In a world of mass consumption and cookie-cutter fashion, shoppers are craving ways to showcase their own interests, styles and preferences. While Nike may have a customized sneaker lab within their 5th Avenue flagship store, the Nike House of Innovation, a smaller scale retailer can apply the same principles to achieve the same outcomes. Beauty boutiques can allow customers to customize their own scents, donut shops can encourage guests to decorate and customize their selections, and clothing retailers can offer alterations, and ways to add patches, beads, and fashionable details. Customization comes in many shapes and forms, but acts as a talking point and creates a buzz within itself. Allowing customers to be part of the creative process provides them with a memorable experience and one that they are sure to tell their friends about.

 

 

 

 

Curated

 

DEFINITION:
If using the theory of curated collections one could rephrase the term as numerous designers have already tried to do: “capsule collection”, “product assortment”, “new limited time collection”, or simply “this month’s featured products”.


Curated collections and product groupings are trending across all genres of the marketplace. The word “curated” is basically stuck on the end of any reference to a product launch or merchandise assortment recently. The danger with using a buzz word is that we do just that — use it for the sake of using it, and to be “like” everyone else. Curated products do indeed have many benefits (as discussed in my blog — Curated Collections) and they make it easy on store owners and shoppers alike.

 

 

 

TURN THEORY INTO PRACTICE
At the beginning of each year examine trends, analyze buzzwords and apply a few of the terms that feel like a good fit. Consumers are very selective, highly informed, and they are looking for retailers who are being transparent.

 

WHAT'S ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT?
Connect with Karen in person at the Toronto Gift Fair, Sunday, January 27 — 30!