Retail was never just about selling product. Retailers’ value proposition has always included experience and aspiration. The problem of the past 20 years is that good product—and frequently good brands—got lost in the daily fracas of promotional activity and designing into a price point and gross margin.

Retail today is centered around the consumer.

The customer is the channel and data is the solution for a better understanding of today’s connected shopper. Navigating through the burgeoning data flow is the task of retailers and brands as they seek the relevant information to support consumer engagement. With this consumer-first mentality, the hundreds of retail/marketing/branding/technology practitioners/experts/consultants presenting at the recent ShopTalk retail conference in Las Vegas didn’t focus on product. Rather personalization, and the customer took center stage. The concern was how to sell and deliver, not on what to sell, though of course the algorithms reveal what may have meaning and resonate with each shopper.

Some companies are all in on this new strategy, while others are using data more selectively to support their businesses rather than drive them. Not surprisingly, newer brands and retailers tend to fall into the former category, but where are established brands on the continuum?

Swarovski and Levi’s were two iconic 100-year-old brands that were represented at the event, and each described their different approaches to data, consumers, and yes, product.

Read more at Sourcing Journal.