Predicting consumer trends is at best an unpredictable art form but one with rich rewards for prognosticators who get it "right" and, at times, punitive financial consequences for those who don't. Yet, it is an enduring objective of business minds with social media and technology being strong drivers for better outcomes. A sort of melding of the two is behind a potentially more accurate platform labeled "pretailing".
Trendwatching a self-described "independent and opinionated trend firm" predicts that this new "mode of consumption" that sees consumers treat crowdfunding
platforms as the new shopping malls." The term "pretail" was coined by the Integer Group, a company that straddles the branding-selling continuum. It is premised on the idea that crowdfunding is a venue for "current consumer demand for the most innovative, exciting and unique products" and the ability to be better served than elsewhere "by an army of entrepreneurs
Per trendwatching what set this new setting apart is that for the "first time ever the diversity, inventiveness, and sheer
number of innovations on offer in the consumer arena can actually match
the imaginings of consumers. That’s a crucial new equality of
supply and demand: one that did not exist when consumption happened in
traditional offline/online stores.
Crowdfunding has been around at least since the time the Statue of Liberty was erected but lately has been put to more quotidian uses including raising money for real estate and is being labeled in a less than flattering way as a "disruptive" technology. But critics and critiques aside, involving customers in spotting if not creating a new trend will likely lie at the heart of future successful innovations of products and services.
Whether the generators of ideas for these products or services get paid for it is another matter; nearly ten years ago igougo.com and the Citizen by Trekshare were heralded as precursors of businesses that enable that. That distinction now belongs to tripadvisor, a website that inarguably benefits massively from consumers with no direct pecuniary gain for the latter. As a petri-dish for ideas, tripadvisor is beyond rich in content; mining that to produce the next big thing in the travel industry could give the notion of pretailing on crowdsourced platform an entirely new meaning and dimension to the travel trade.