Stephen Mader looks at how crowdsourcing projects are changing the face of retail.
This year at CES we saw the emergence of a group of companies putting out innovative products that were funded by Kickstarter.
As a refresher, Kickstarter is a platform that allows entrepreneurs to connect with advocate consumers who pledge money up front to the business in return for goods and services later – think of it like a crowd-sourced research and development pre-order. The poster child of this is the Pebble watch which received $10 million worth of funding last year.
In 2012 we saw consumers embrace the ability to choose and tailor the assortment that goes onto retailers’ shelves through some innovative promotions and applications like Walmart’s ‘Get on the Shelf’ campaign. We anticipate 2013 will extend this one additional step by empowering consumers to choose which products actually get built, often from smaller startup companies that will compete head to head against the large global brands. Retailers and suppliers should expect new products to come from unexpected places with a more heightened level of consumer awareness, and at a faster pace than before.