This month’s Annual Summit is filled with forward-looking sessions that will provide a glimpse of what we can expect to see in retail in 2015. One that I will be quite interested in is the special Members-Only Keynote, where consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, PhD, and Resource CEO Kelly Mooney will examine how “a decade of swift and stunning change has profoundly affected our psychology, and consequently how, when and why we shop and buy.”

Thinking about how much has changed over the past 10 years – back when we couldn’t shop on and pay with our phones and had never even heard of a tablet – they’ll clearly have a lot of ground to cover. The insights behind a consumer’s motivation behind shopping are sure to inspire retail marketers and impact strategies over the next year.

And, while I don’t have an advanced copy of the presentation, I will guess that somehow, someway, personalization will be a part of this discussion. To me, it’s a no brainer. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I regularly address the importance of personalization across all channels and the need to meet (and exceed) increasing expectations of consumers for receiving relevant messages and value from retailers. Feeling that a retailer really knows who they are and cares about them is a powerful motivator for consumers, who have seemingly endless retail options and are regularly bombarded by communications from them.

While we’ll have to wait until the end of the month to see what Yarrow and Mooney have to say, they are not the only ones addressing psychology in retail. In a recent Forbes article, the authors of The New Rules of Retail, Robin Lewis and Michael Dart, explore how Apple has “neurologically hooked its customers.” From their perspective, Apple’s deep connection with its consumers “has gone well beyond the simply emotional. It has succeeded by actually connecting with their minds.”

Lewis and Dart argue that the proof for this strong subconscious connection is the way Apple has satisfied the six areas that consumers demand to create an outstanding customer experience, which includes, not surprisingly, customization/personalization (the others are affordable luxury, continuous streams of new products/services, instantaneously and more often, “community”-like lifestyles, and technology embedded in every aspect of our lives).

They conclude by saying, “we do know that for any consumer-facing business to even come close to replicating Apple’s consumer connection, every part of the organization, across the value chain, must be maniacally—even religiously—focused on creating a superb customer experience and an Apple-like subconscious connection.”

It’s clear that there’s much more to a consumer’s shopping habits than meets the eye. Retailers that connect emotionally and mentally with consumers will establish deeper consumer connections and distinguish themselves from competitors. I believe, as Lewis and Dart do, that personalization is a critical ingredient to this success and look forward to hearing whether Yarrow and Mooney agree.

What do you think drives people to shop? And, which sessions are you most looking forward to at Tell us in the comments below and, if you’re attending the conference, stop by and see us at booth #2423.