Friday, December 16, 2011

'Human Interaction' Making a Comeback

Shopping in a large grocery store doesn't give customers much interaction with store employees. This way of shopping has been popular for a long time, but according to a survey conducted by Adaptive Path (a design firm focusing on customer experience), customers are now looking for a personal experience in their shopping.

Peter Merholz, president of Adaptive Path, says that consumers want "low-key, face-to-face interactions with merchants". Evidence of this can be seen in the decline of self-checkouts and the rise of food trucks and farmers' markets. The Food Marketing Institute reports that in 2007, 22% of grocery store orders in the US were paid at a self-checkout. In 2010, that number dropped to 16%. Agricultural Marketing Service reports a 53% increase in the number of farmers' markets from 2008 to 2011 (as seen in the graph below).

Merholz also said, "In our increasingly connected world, people crave authentic human interaction, and the future of retail is going to look a lot more like it did in the more distant past and a lot less like the bureaucratically driven mass consumerism we grew to expect in the 20th century."


Sounds like great news for ag business owners! Do you feel that your business succeeds because of the human interaction? What kind of feedback do your customers give you about "having someone to talk to"? Are there any groups of people (women, men, seniors, married, no children, etc) that you think enjoy the human interaction more than another group?

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