Post-recession shopping behaviour shifts
The new post-recession American shopper can be described as 'high maintenance and promiscuous' and demands an innovative and engaging experience both in-store and online, according to a study by Leo Burnett's marketing services arm, Arc Worldwide.
The recession has changed consumers' mindset about shopping, and most people have already developed new rules for the retailers with which they choose to deal. As a result, retailers need a greater understanding of the changed roles they play in consumers' lives in order to meet those expectations and maintain customer loyalty.
The study, entitled 'Re-Imagining The Retail Store', identified five key findings that retailers should consumer when implementing new strategies:
- Don't let technology undermine the shopping experience Retailers tend to view in-store technologies as a better way to connect with their customers, but customers don't agree. While people do want to experience a seamless transition between the physical and virtual store by using technology, they also want educated and friendly service when visiting the physical store. Technology is not a suitable substitute and this practice can damage an already fragile relationship.
- Shoppers are promiscuous Consumers tend to shop around, and their loyalty is hard earned. The recession has taken a toll on consumer confidence and people's perceptions of retail business. Customer loyalty has to be earned by understanding in detail the expectations of the shopper and delivering every time.
- Price is attractive, but it's not the whole story Consumers will not accept a trade-off involving low price versus quality experiences and merchandise. Today, people are more than happy not to spend their money if they feel that retailers do not give them a sufficient reason to purchase.
- Breaking the rules If you're not winning by following the rules, break them. There are two clear ways to win in store-based retailing - excel within your store archetype or take a radical path to greatness and create a new store format that breaks out of category conventions and delivers a unique experience.
- The basics are still powerful It may not be exciting, but there is work to do and profit to be made from making the basics of retail even better. Retailers are struggling to get the basics right and people are visibly frustrated. Going back to basics can help to improve customer appeal, retention and, ultimately, profitability.
According to Dr Alan Treadgold, head of retail strategy for Leo Burnett Worldwide, "The retail landscape continues to evolve and move further away from being just a place to purchase a product. It's an experience. As retailers listen to their customers and understand their behaviors, they can create an experience that people come back to time and time again."
A white paper detailing the study's findings and conclusions has been made available for free download from the Leo Burnett web site - click here (Google Docs web-based document; no registration needed).