The reality in 2017, is that the consumer is now largely in charge of dictating the terms of shopping with their chosen retailer. This has come about through rapid developments in the cloud, through major advances in mobile technologies, and the growth of social media, which have combined together to empower customers to research and shop in new ways, transforming the relationship to one where the shopper is in full control.
With so much choice, and with a growing number of channels in which to purchase, producers and retailers need to innovate like never before. Customers need to be influenced to alter their previous buying behaviour, to one based on aspiration and lifestyle.
Another important change is that selling over the internet is vastly different from the old way of promoting a product through a nice picture with a label and price tag next to it. Over the web, the key element to accompany a product is information, the more relevant and detailed the better. Shoppers are increasingly making sure they are well informed before they shop with a growing majority claiming to research their purchases before buying online.
Customers are also responding well to personalisation. Retailers who monitor purchasing behaviour and connect this to promotions and offers, will find consumers rewarding them with more business. If you can do this while the customer is in-store, admittedly not an easy proposition, but one which will deliver even greater purchases. Younger consumers in particular are showing a proclivity to using their mobile device while shopping to make further purchases.
Providing truly personalised experiences will only be possible if retailers continue to invest in Big Data – which is the backbone behind a personalised retail experience. Gathering as much information about the behaviour, history, and whereabouts of consumers as possible and using that information to implement dynamic pricing, personalised recommendations, and shopper-specific
So get used to accessing the entire store inventory with an iPad, using it to browse the store and then make a purchase, and have the product shipped to your home, all while you’re in the store itself. This will be an entirely new way of shopping, merging all of the benefits of the online store with the immediacy of the physical store environment.
Retail in 2017 will continue to be driven by the needs and preferences of two prominent generations: the baby boomers (in their 60s – 70s) and millennials (18 – 34 year olds). Baby boomers will need an easier shopping experience; this could include changes to store layout, such as areas for people to sit down, larger in store signs and clearer packaging and labelling.
We have an exciting year ahead!
Author: Alisdair Gray, International Analyst for the Global DIY Summit