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STAMFORD, Conn. — The future of retail, according to a new study from Daymon, will see shoppers evolving into advocates, helping brands determine ways to meet their new demands.
The study, "From Shopper to Advocate: The Power of Participation," presents six key shopper insights that will shape the future of retail. The insights have to do with looking beyond demographics, allowing for co-creation, catering to new ideas about “freshness,” understanding the value of private brands, interacting with engaged shoppers, and integrating mobile strategies.
It’s Not Just Generational
Customers are breaking the bounds of their demographics. It’s now more about values, attitudes and lifestyles than age, gender and income. Daymon breaks customers into three categories: Vocal Aficionados, Balanced Enthusiasts and Struggling Apathetics. Vocal Aficionados, with their zest for shopping and overall awareness, are the most valuable to retailers. Not only are they most likely to buy products themselves, but they also make for good brand ambassadors and marketers. Among other attributes ascribed to Vocal Aficionados are creative, passionate, wellness-oriented, socially minded, and digitally savvy. Comparatively, Balanced Enthusiasts, while engaged, are more pragmatic when it comes to shopping and slightly less digitally proficient. Struggling Apathetics, the least engaged of the three, are often more concerned with price due to financial constraints and other circumstances; despite this, the group is overall aware of trends.
Co-Creation Is the Future
Under the shopper-turned-advocate trend, co-creation provides a significant opportunity for growth. Shoppers, especially Vocal Aficionados, want to provide feedback to companies and assistance to brands in designing new products or services. Of those considered Vocal Aficionados, 55 percent are interested in giving company feedback, vs. 45 percent of Balanced Enthusiasts. And 51 percent of Vocal Aficionados are interested in helping a company design a new product or service, vs. 42 percent of Balanced Enthusiasts.
Fresh as the Gateway to Loyalty
Six out of 10 shoppers cite "fresh" categories as being important factors in their store choice. For engaged shoppers like Vocal Aficionados, "fresh" categories extend beyond produce, meat and seafood and into factors that fall within the “Participation Halo.” Fifty-three percent value in-store restaurants more than the average shopper; 33 percent more want a wide variety of natural and organic products; 31 percent expect more fresh prepared foods; 24 percent want more sustainably produced or sourced products; and 22 percent seek a more broad selection of local products.
A New Dimension of Private Brands
The most engaged shoppers are committed to, among other things, learning more about private brands and the features they might provide. Vocal Aficionados, compared to average shoppers, are 41 percent more likely to perceive that private brands have attractive packaging, 37 percent more likely to find them trendy, and 36 percent more likely to believe that they offer unique flavors they can’t get elsewhere. Other factors include whether the brands understand local needs, provide higher quality, offer the variety of products one cares about, meets one's needs, and fits one’s lifestyle.
Daymon’s research indicates that shoppers’ relationships with brands now extend beyond the transactional and outside of the store — be it brick-and-mortar or online. To meet new expectations, brands have to use technology as a means to connect. Facebook, blogs, live online chats, Twitter, mobile apps and text messaging are all ways in which shoppers can provide feedback to brands. Vocal Aficionados are 58 percent more likely than the average shopper to want to provide feedback via Facebook, according to the study, and 44 percent more likely to want to provide feedback through Twitter. While it’s great to provide a platform for consumers to provide feedback, it’s also important to respond to feedback, making communication between shopper and brand a two-way street.
Seamless Integration With Mobile
While being digital savvy is great for communication with shoppers, it’s perhaps even more valuable when it comes to actual sales, which is why mobile integration is key. In fact, according to Daymon’s study, the digital experience an engaged shopper has with a retailer more often than not determines where they decide to spend their money. A stunning 83 percent of Vocal Aficionados are more likely than the average shopper to use their mobile phones during a shopping trip to help them make a purchase. And 90 percent are more likely to prefer stores that have apps for shopping that enable payment. Click-and-collect programs are 48 percent more popular with Vocal Aficionados, too.
“With legacy categories declining, digital strategies emerging and shoppers’ demand for engagement and customization increasing, retailers and brands must better understand the emerging needs and behaviors of shoppers on a global scale and dramatically rethink their go-to-market strategies,” said Dave Harvey, vice president of thought leadership at Daymon. “As shopping becomes more on-demand and increasingly personalized each day, we find ourselves amid a seismic shift that promises to reshape retail as we know it.”
So, what’s next? Retailers can meet new customer expectations with the five following strategies, according to Daymon:
1. Offer opportunities for collaboration and co-creation;
2. Allow for hyper-personalization of products and services;
3. Incorporate multi-sensory experiences, from discovery to digital;
4. Accent new interpretations of “fresh;” and
5. Simplify the experience of shopping with an eye toward making it effortless.
Click here to read Daymon’s study, "From Shopper to Advocate: The Power of Participation," in full.
Stamford-based Daymon is global retail strategies and services provider. Daymon's business network includes more than 100 major retailers and nearly 6,000 manufacturers in 50 countries. The company currently handles more than 1,700 brands and approximately 165,000 individual SKUs globally.