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From the Editor

Taking Stock

A new year brings the chance to close a chapter, making space for the opportunities that lie ahead.




IF YOU’RE PART of the 25 percent of Americans who welcome the New Year with a renewed sense of purpose and a list of resolutions, you can thank what social scientists call the “Fresh Start Effect” for your newfound determination to push forward and do better.

In fact, researchers at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that people are more likely to take action to achieve their goals immediately following a temporal landmark like a birthday or the beginning of a new calendar year. The theory is that these landmarks create new “mental accounting periods” where we can file last year’s trials and tribulations away, creating the breathing room we need to take a big picture look at our existence and set goals.

Retail is an industry that never sleeps. It is ever-changing, continually evolving in an unending effort to anticipate the whims of a consumer with an eight-second attention span and more options than ever before. As those responsible for creating experiences that must surprise and delight to remain relevant well know, it is extremely easy to become mired in tactics or process and lose sight of the broader purpose and mission that drives us.

So what’s the best way to avoid falling into this seemingly inevitable trap? Perhaps part of the answer lies in understanding when we, as human beings, are inherently most receptive to motivation or inspiration and most likely to make a change in philosophy or direction.

“The fresh start effect has significant practical implications for individual decision-makers, managers, and policy makers,” the authors of “The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior,” wrote. “Individuals can not only take advantage of their fresh start feelings at naturally arising temporal landmarks to follow through on good intentions, but they may also be able construct [emphasis mine] fresh starts themselves by strategically ‘creating’ turning points in their personal histories…”

As we dive into 2022 and approach the many challenges and opportunities that face retailers, designers and brands in the coming year, smart organizations will be mindful of working with – rather than against – our instincts as humans to take stock of the time that’s passed, assess the future and recommit to our purpose and passion.

Jennifer Acevedo
Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher, VMSD Magazine




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