Shopper behavior is changing at an uncontrollable pace, and retailers must keep up. In the past five years, there have been a lot of changes in shopper behavior that marketers and researchers in retail should pay close attention to. That’s why we asked the top leaders in the industry to share the changes that they think are most important.
Here is what they said:
Dan Pink, Author: The once-breathtaking, but now commonplace, idea that most people carry in their pockets a powerful computer that can connect to the entire world.
Joseph Davis, Coca-Cola: For me, it has been the surprising pace with which shoppers are moving to fresh or prepared foods – driving traffic out of the center store and into the perimeter. And it’s a behavior without boundaries – large store, small store, online – it’s a real shift in demand toward on-demand, easy meal solutions. This kind of thing you’d expect to be more glacial in pace and moving with generations, but the behaviors are changing faster than I think many of us expected.
Christine Trodella, Facebook: Mobile is the biggest shift in shopper behavior over the past five years. Mobile usage continues to grow at an astounding pace and people are now shopping, browsing and researching across devices. As Retailers optimize their mobile experience and people become more comfortable buying on mobile, conversions will continue to grow. Today, mobile is a powerful tool for discovery and an increasingly influential part of the shopper’s journey. 41 percent of people who research on a smartphone convert on another device and 38 percent convert in store (eMarketer report Cross Device Search Marketing, April 2015). As mobile bridges the online and offline world, retailers need to invest more in their mobile presence and understand and assign the proper value to each customer touch point along the path to purchase.
Jonathan McDonald, Thought Expansion Network: I think the biggest shift in behavior is less to do with how people behave while shopping but instead how people are far more empowered to be ANY part of the value chain. Over the last five years we’ve seen an exponential increase in the capability and affordability of technology, driving the ability for anyone to be an investor, manufacturer, retailer, marketer and consumer of products and services. Platforms like Etsy.com and Kickstarter have enabled this shift and I believe it is just the beginning of what I would term ‘value chain democratization.’
Neil Howe, Author: More consumers using smartphones. Whether they’re making purchases from their devices or using them to compare prices in-store, shoppers have more information at their fingertips than ever before and are using it to make better-informed purchasing decisions.
Sheila McKay, HP: The use of cellphones on the shopper journey - the smart phone is giving shoppers access to endless amounts of information - figuring out how to get the information you believe your shopper would like to see has not been easy - we are still trying to figure out the best way to help shoppers access the information we have created based on their desires - would love to know what is working best for you!
Michael Klein, Post Foods: The changing path to purchase away from traditional shopping to online and digital is the biggest shift in shopping behavior over the last five years. As technology has advanced, and Millennials are becoming more dominant in the marketplace, the path to purchase has evolved.
Dan Mudd, Clorox International: Crowdsourcing: Ratings & Reviews increasing importance on category and brand choice within it. Clear benefit communication and delivery of it at every possible touch point in the shopper’s journey has never been more important.
Jon Fehrman, Big Lots: Over the past few years the shift from cellular to mobile and the ability for shopping on demand. I can recall discussing this with peers approx. five to six years ago about whether to include a graphic depiction of a mobile phone versus cellular on pack, and at that time it was too soon. Not now!
Kristian Aloma, Brandtrust: There are two things here I find most intriguing in the market place. First, is the ability for consumers to immediate craft and distribute stories to their personal audiences. Whether in brick and mortar or online, consumers are increasingly posting, tweeting, Yelp-ing, blogging, almost instantaneously about the service, product or experience they’ve just had. This fact requires a shift in the way marketers and brand managers think about their communications strategy and the tools, props and artifacts they give consumers at the point of purchase. With a consumer group that is so ready to tell stories, the brands that help them do so, and do so in a way that is favorable to the brand, are those that will win in this space. In some cases, we see brands, especially online, immediately encouraging this. Airlines, Amazon.com and many others immediately provide consumers the opportunity to post about their purchase right from the site.
James Sorensen, Kantar Retail: Shoppers go to fewer stores, smaller stores, seek more personalization and make more purchases through ecommerce channels. But these changes are not a result of a change in shopper behavior, but are rather simply a result of the change in the retail landscape. Shopper’s want what shoppers have always wanted. Most of the time they want to get the goods they need, as quickly, easily and at the lowest cost possibly. Retailers and brands that deliver the most frictionless experiences at the best price will win a greater share of the shoppers’ loyalty.
Jim Cusson, Theory House: Five years ago my front porch was likely to be a resting place for potted flowers or a place to sip a cup of iced tea. Today it has become a depository for UPS to drop off Amazon.com Prime boxes. I suspect my home life serves as a microcosm for today’s shopper. My household is increasingly buying online while at the same time splitting grocery shopping between two supermarkets, Target and Club stores. We’re taking advantage of choice, convenience and also specialization.
Like what you’ve read? Attend The OmniShopper 2015 Conference in Chicago July 20-22 and revolutionize your shopper strategy to get ahead in the emerging retail landscape. OmniShopper, formerly Shopper Insights in Action, is the event of choice for the retail industry, and has been for over a decade. Experts from leading Retailers and Brands break down the dramatic shifts in shopper behavior and then teach you how to redefine your shopper strategy to win at retail.
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The #OmniShopper15 Team