LONDON, United Kingdom — In an exclusive new podcast series presented by Brookfield Properties, BoF investigates the seismic shifts transforming the retail ecosystem. From the post-pandemic consumer psyche to increased risk and growing calls for responsibility, we identify the new fundamentals of a reborn retail industry.
Episode 1 begins by examining the shift in consumer psyche, as customers continue to grapple with the emotional and economic trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the Covid-19 pandemic may indeed be the most sustained and life-altering event most of us will experience,” says host Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet. “Add to this the levels of social unrest and conflict we’ve witnessed thus far in 2020 and it adds up to significant psychological trauma for most consumers.”
“The cognizance of death — and our innate fear of it — drives much of our conscious and subconscious behaviour,” says social psychologist Sheldon Solomon PhD, a thought leader in terror management theory whose research identifies how natural and economic disasters create "mortality salience" — unpredictable and immediate reminders of death, prompting consumers to turn to money and goods for security.
“When people are going to die, they value money more. They’re more interested in certain kinds of luxury items. For some people, the acquisition of money and stuff is essentially a death-denying fetish,” continues Solomon.
However, as consumer sentiment shifts beyond immediate fear, and the urge to spend evolves beyond the acquisition of product to now include experiences, personal transformations, even enduring legacies, the retail sector is well positioned to answer emerging consumer needs.
Listen out for episode 2 on reimagining supply chains to reflect the times we live in.
To discover how retail's rebirth will impact your business and learn critical, actionable insights into the challenges and opportunities retail's new ecosystem will bring, follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode.
Sheldon Solomon PhD is a social psychologist and professor of psychology at Skidmore University in New York, and a world-renowned researcher into death and its impact on consumer behaviour. Solomon is one of three researches credited for developing Terror Management Theory and is the author and co-author of more than 100 academic articles and several books, including In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror.