You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with Scott Lachut, partner and president of research and strategy at PSFK.
00:30 Rob and Victoria introduce their guest, Scott Lachut, partner and president of research and strategy at PSFK.
06:40 Scott explains what PSFK does best.
11:37 Rob asks if physical retail will remain post-pandemic.
14:33 Scott gives advice for preparing for the digital future.
19:58 Scott talks about the metaverse and how it will intersect with the role of luxury.
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs: jckonline.com, @jckmagazine
Introducing Scott Lachut
Rob and Victoria introduce Scott Lachut, partner and president of research and strategy at PSFK. Founded in 2006, the company is concerned with the future of retail, from content to digitalization to omnichannel. Scott is a futurist and trend consultant. In his early career, he ran a moving company, worked in kitchens, and as a writer before he arrived at PSFK. Rob asks what kind of information Scott takes in, and he says he looks at micro trends with a 1–5-year horizon.
Scott’s focus is on retail, customer experience, and brand experience. PSFK comes out with a prospective on the future of retail every year. They use these reports for some of their conferences, one of which was recently on predictions of what retail will look like in 20 years’ time. Victoria asks what some of the highlights of this conference were. Scott speaks of the “meta mall,” the “omni consumer,” the “creator economy,” and the “on-demand brand,” all of which he explains.
Where Does Physical Retail Stand?
Rob asks with all the changes from COVID-19 on consumers’ shopping experience if Scott thinks retail will go back to normal once the pandemic is over. Scott says he’s very much in favor of physical retail and that he doesn’t think that retail is going away, but bad physical retail will. He also believes that the convenience of shopping online will stay. People also turn to digital when they want to do research on a product before buying. What digital doesn’t excel at yet is the emotional and social connection that physical retail provides.
How Retailers Can Prepare for the Digital Future
Victoria asks how Scott might advise jewelry retailers to prepare for the digital future. Scott says retailers need to embrace the change, since moving digital is inevitable. It’s all about trying to figure out where your audience is. For example, Scott says you’re now able to reach very niche audiences through smaller platforms such as Discord and Reddit. You must experiment and be OK with failing and trying again. The one important thing that retailers need to adopt is text and chat, as people still need some way to communicate and develop relationships. Scott thinks the beauty industry is one sector doing exceptionally well in adopting technology. He also discusses membership-based retail.
Victoria brings up the metaverse and asks Scott if we should all be jumping on the digital train and how the metaverse will intersect with luxury. Scott says that Morgan Stanley reports that the metaverse has the potential to become a $50 billion industry. Scott believes that virtual worlds with avatars in the metaverse will be places to socialize, work, and shop, but that it won’t replace living, breathing human interactions.
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