Here are five TED talks that will provide the inspiration, ideas and stimuli to get you thinking about your customers and retail business in new ways.

Tim Leberecht  |  Three Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of Your Reputation

It can be scary to relinquish control. As retail professionals, we orchestrate everything from store experience to product assortments, prices, and messaging. In today’s social landscape, however, consumers have more control than ever. In this excellent talk, Tim Leberecht shares stories about how giving consumers and employees more control, creating meaning, and remaining open to possibilities have yielded excellent business results.

John Gerzema  |  The Post-Crisis Consumer

In retail, we are always striving to understand our customers better. We analyze data, we conduct surveys, and we build elaborate omni-channel customer profiles. But, how well do we really understand how socio-cultural changes are influencing consumers? In this TED talk, John Gerzema shares his thoughts on today’s empowered consumer. He discusses the trends towards mindful consumption, ethics and fair play, values and culture, and offers a ton of great examples of businesses who have adapted to meet new these consumer demands.

Michael Norton  |  How to Buy Happiness

This inspiring TED talk delivers an unexpected message about the impact of altruism on personal happiness. How does this relate to retail? Michael Norton shares findings from a recent study that concluded that spending money on other people results in more happiness than spending it on oneself. Retail marketers are often thinking of how to get people to buy for themselves, but perhaps we need to devote more time to brainstorming ways to make it easier to spend on other people. Some ideas may include offering gift cards, customer wishlists, and gift receipts.

Seth Godin  |  On Sliced Bread

It was more than ten minutes into this video before I realized that it was over a decade old! Although Seth Godin delivered this talk three years before Twitter was created, the idea of consumers living in a world with too many choices and too little time is perhaps more true now than ever. Instead of looking to engage the masses, as many retailers do, better results can be achieved by focusing on the early adopters, the aficionados, and the consumers who really, genuinely love the brand. These consumers can ultimately become brand ambassadors, and when they do, they can have a greater impact on business than any traditional form of marketing or advertising.

Paul Kemp Robertson  |  Meet the Future of Branded Currency

Are you a retailer with a loyalty program? Are you looking for new ways to engage consumers, increase fidelity and sell more? In this forward-looking TED talk, Paul Kemp Robertson talks about the global shift towards branded currencies such as bitcoin and loyalty points. He shares some fascinating examples from around the world of how the lines between brands, marketing and currency have become increasingly blurred.

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