How can retailers use technology to build hyper-personalised relationships with customers?

category - strategy
type - features
category - workplace
Innovative retailers are using technology to create intelligent, empathetic commerce journeys – where every touchpoint is a learning opportunity, and artificial intelligence caters for customers’ idiosyncratic needs and wants at scale. Joanna Lowry, strategic futures director at The Future Laboratory, unpacks the key strategic take-outs from our latest EQ-Commerce macrotrend.

In the past, when retailers referred to a ‘path to purchase’ they were referring to something simple and linear. Today, the path to purchase is multi-faceted and omnichannel, with customers fluidly moving between online and offline, and between wholesale and direct-to-consumer. This complex purchasing journey means retailers have to work harder than ever to attract and retain customers.

Enter EQ-Commerce: a new retail model centred on hyper-personalisation and underpinned by an omniscient ability to anticipate customers’ needs. EQ-Commerce means offering Discovery Commerce using dynamic, real-time, personalised shopping feeds that are incredibly accurate at deciphering what a person is looking for. It means moving past the influencer marketing model to invest in creating a coterie of niche but Trusted Tastemakers. And it means looking to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Virtual Stores, not as one-off marketing gimmicks but as opportunities to build long-lasting, loyal relationships. 

While technology – especially artificial intelligence, deep learning algorithms and data mining – is crucial to building a system of EQ-Commerce, even more important is understanding what that technology can deliver and how it can align with customers’ needs. The four I’s provide a framework for using technology to build highly personalised relationships with customers: 
: Intuitive – Dynamic and intuitive offerings based on real-time behaviour  
: Intimate – Service-orientated beyond the product 
: Individualised – Deep understanding of idiosyncratic traits and audiences 
: Interconnected – Connected data systems equals interconnected shopping experiences 

Published by:

26 April 2023

Author: Joanna Lowry

Image: Zero10 and Crosby Studios, US


Adidas Sanlitun flagship store designed by YSP and Output, Beijing

Creating an EQ-Commerce eco-system doesn’t happen overnight. Here are some thought-starters for retailers to consider as they prepare for a new era of EQ-Commerce:  

Honour the privilege 
The next decade will be defined by permission and privilege when it comes to harnessing your customers’ data for personalisation. What value exchange can you offer your customers to make them feel as if you perceive them not just as consumers, but also as individuals? 
Harness your inner creator 
As people turn increasingly to recommendation media, they will be looking to retailers to offer them new formats for discovery. Rather than relying on social media platforms, how can you create and own the social commerce experience in your own channels? 
Find humans in the algorithm 
As artificial intelligence becomes even better at analysing and recommending products and services, human-in-the-loop interventions will become even more important. What human touchpoints could you offer to ensure your personalisation feels intimate, intuitive, individualised and interconnected – the four I’s of future retail?

Technologies and disciplines are converging in ways that make shopping less about a transaction and more about a predictive, proactive and positive conversation. The future of retail is Intuitive, Intimate, Individualised and Interconnected. By using EQ-Commerce and technology to build highly personalised relationships with customers, retailers will, in turn, see increased loyalty and higher profits. 

Our team of strategists have developed a wide-ranging set of strategic decision-making tools to help provide future-first solutions for our clients. If you would like to discuss how our Redemptive Diets macrotrend could support future planning for your brand, or if you have any questions about embedding our macrotrends into your business, send us a message at We look forward to accelerating into the future with you.

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