The retail environments we recognize today have seen a massive transformation since the storefronts of the 1500s in the English countryside. Each had a sign, a storefront and an owner, serving the unique and very personalized needs of residents in the surrounding hamlets — the clothiers, the haberdashery, the grocery, the cobblers, the butcher and the blacksmith. Owners knew every patron and family by name, along with their inseam measurements, shoe size, weekly grocery list and personal wardrobe preferences.
Since then, retail has come a long way with store design, staffing, inventory and scope. However, it has in many ways lost its focus on knowledge of the customer’s true needs, as retailers have used averages or groupings to scale their merchandising decisions. Further, personalized interactions have fallen adrift with the introduction of today’s mass market selling strategies across brick-and-mortar stores and e-Commerce sites.