The Sub-Conscious Balancing Act.

Social scientists and social researchers argue that the world today is perceived by most people as being increasingly cold; technological; complex; de-humanised; stressful; uncertain; and transactional. As business people we feel it too.

In studies undertaken in the United Kingdom prior to the ‘Global Financial Crisis’, psychologists continually made reference to the relationship between the huge rise in living standards and household wealth and the ten-fold increase in suicide over a fifteen-year period. It appears that rapid societal wealth gain is rationally and emotionally linked to stress and anxiety.

Interestingly psychologists also point out the unique human instinct of seeking balance. That is for every swing of the pendulum to one side of the scales our emotional and subconscious behaviours seek to balance them up.

When we feel too cold we seek warmth. When things are too technological we seek tactility. When they are too stressful we seek stress relief. And on it goes.

This is born out in sales figures as we see high-end food experiences prospering. Spas and health retreats doing well. Services that make things simple and inspire confidence and transparency are on the rise.

Which brings me to the lesson for retail. Human beings have evolved over six million years and are driven by deeply embedded emotions and instinctual behaviours. Understanding these as the basic building blocks of value perception is critical to gaining competitive advantage.

If you do nothing else than looking critically at your retail business and examining how you may offer a counter balance to your customer’s anxious, stressful, uncertain, time challenged, de-humanised, transactional and overly complex existence you will be on the right track to creating value you can monetise.

Most retailers today are so inwardly focussed on the stresses of running their businesses and surviving, they are ignoring the unspoken needs and desires of their customers.

Physical retail should be about how a customer feels. Every little thing we do should add up to a great experience regardless of whether they can consciously recognise and articulate why. If you make the customer feel great they won’t just help you survive they will drive your prosperity.

Our world has become too rational and transactional. If all you do is take one thing that delivers a great feeling for the customer and you deliver that consistently, you will beat your competitors simply because too few people in retail today understand what the customer is drawn to is simple. For their own mental, physical and spiritual health they must balance their lives. Give them the experiences that can.