Of the 2019 predictions First Insight President and CEO Greg Petro recently laid out in Forbes magazine, one called out for greater exploration in particular: the idea that customer centricity would go mainstream in the coming year.

The Monday afternoon session “Product Paradigm Shift: Customer-centric Merchandising in the Age of Data and Decision Agility,” covered the issue from varied perspectives. The panel included Michael Gilbert, executive vice president of product development at Kohl’s, Ann E. Joyce, chief customer officer and executive vice president of technology, supply chain and field operations with Chico’s FAS Inc. and Rue21 Chief Analytics Officer Mark Chrystal.

Petro opened with a few stats from recent research. Among them, the fact that men are making more purchases than previously — and are now on par with women. Men are now exceeding women in starting their searches on Amazon. And the amount of men who said they would never shop on their mobile devices dropped from 48 percent to 18 percent. In other words, the times indeed are changing.

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