This first-of-its-kind research report from Faire explores how serendipity, or “happy, accidental discovery,” is a fundamental human joy—and how it’s also key to retail. It influences how satisfying, meaningful, and memorable people find a shopping experience, as well as whether they’re likely to recommend or repeat-purchase from a given retailer.
Much of today’s current cultural context—and retail context—are lacking in serendipity. From a tech standpoint, algorithmic recommendations targeted at consumers are swapping the joy of discovery for the benefit of convenience. From a societal standpoint, the pandemic reduced spontaneity and social delight within the shopping experience.
But now, retail culture is evolving—trying to replace some of the serendipity that it lost, and that people crave. We’ve conducted a deep dive into the role of serendipity in retail, looking at spatial design and sensory stimuli, community and experiential discovery, and the collaborative process by which retailers share their taste with consumers. Through these approaches, this report breaks down how independent retailers are uniquely positioned to offer curated, community-centric spaces—all in service of helping their customers be delighted through discovery.