The Human Touch: Inspirations for Consumer-Centered Retail in 2016

By Roberto Ramos, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Communications at the Doneger Group
January 6, 2016

The modern consumer is more informed and sophisticated than ever, and expects brands to deliver both value and delight at all points. Brands that deliver the most meaningful consumer proposition and experience will be the ones who thrive in a highly competitive and promotional marketplace.

The following are some of the themes from our "Human Touch" presentation that looks at consumer-centered retail strategies for the upcoming year.


Consumers are expecting a higher degree of relevancy in the products and brands they endorse. On the rise we see customized products and personalized experiences such as personal shoppers, subscription services, peer-to-peer commerce, and dynamic digital content.

New Value Equation

Consumers, empowered by price and benefit comparison tools, are undertaking more rigorous and expedient formulations of value. Top on their benefits list are durability, flexibility, innovative touches, meaningful customer loyalty initiatives and customer service. Function and benefit, directly expressed to the needs of the consumer, will increasingly inform packaging, marketing and messaging.

Experience as Premium

Consumers, while sensitive to pricing, are willing to spend more for brands with meaning. Expect more interest in product novelty, craftsmanship, storytelling, as well as lifestyle experiences that only a well-defined brand can provide. A focus on "play" will also take hold in brand engagement, with more interactivity, gamefication, visual forms of expression such as emoji and virtual reality making consumer connections more powerfully immersive.

Power of Simplicity

A plethora of options and obligations are making the consumer clamor for products and solutions that make life simpler. Expect brands and retailers to provide more intuitively simple customization and seamlessness in how they deliver product and messaging. Omni-channel is now the basic standard, with consumers expecting additional layers of delight. The cell phone, our modern day compass, will increasingly be the tool to simplify our day-to-day.


The uncertain economic and political climate, along with the rise of cyber-security breaches will bring privacy and trust to top of mind for many consumers. Expect more innovations around personal privacy including the rise of security services that protect your identity. Smaller social networks and messaging apps will play a stronger role as consumers treasure more private conversations. Transparency in messaging and pro-social stances will continue to be important for brands to strengthen their connection with consumers.

Contact us to schedule a complimentary presentation of our full "Human Touch" presentation, and to explore how Doneger can help your brand and business.