Retailers win when products are commodities. Lots of selection, great prices.
But the tolls of relentless marketing have taken it’s toll: consumers have been overly marketed, have grown disbelieving, disillusioned, and disinterested. “Only one left” refreshes tomorrow; “Save 10% by midnight” gives way to 15% by midday; “Best”, “Greatest”, “Perfect” are nebulous enough to be meaningless. Where once decency and integrity were the standard, now the exploitation of the barely legal is the commonplace. Where once consumers would enter an appliance store knowing any brand or model would last for a generation — destined to be sold with the house in a few decades, there is now only a race to the barely legal: to the cheapest product that barely passes standards and regulations — that “hopefully stops working the day after the consumer would not feel entitled to a refund.” Not quality; not customer happiness; not even customers not feeling cheated or upset; rather, not customers feeling so cheated and upset that a refund is sought.
So where do weary, upset consumers turn? To brands. The aisles of stores are full of commodities of disillusion. Brands stand in stark contrast. Obvious every product has a brand. I mean Brand in the newer sense. In the direct to consumer sense. To the companies that make a relationship with the customers. That see the vision; feel the pains; stand by their products; are committed to the same ideals. They are participants in the experience.
It will be these brands, these relationships, this trust that will kill retailers. Relentless marketing has turned every aisle of physical retailer, or every list of an online one (eg, Amazon) into a distrusted commodity. It is Brands that break through with the vision, trust, and relationships — and at that point, when Brands are sought, retailers are just middlemen.