In Geoblink’s most recent report: The New Age of Consumer Behaviour in Retail, some interesting topics were discussed. The overriding factor was the shift in the balance of power between brands and consumers. Consumers changing behaviour has reformed the entire retail model – no longer is it a manufacturer to consumer push, to be successful in today’s market brands need to operate a consumer pull model, where their customers decide what products, when.
Retail is not dying. It is experiencing a period of transformation. Consumers are more informed than ever; they know what products are available before going to store, they can quickly find similar alternatives and compare prices, and online platforms and forums have meant consumers can share honest reviews with each other, recommend and rate products.
As online research and discussions have grown in popularity, trust issues are rising with fake reviews and accounts being made. This challenge is a bonus for bricks and mortar, as a quick solution is simply visiting the store.
However, the trust concerns alone aren’t enough to maintain constant footfall and keep sales high. Consumers need a better reason to visit.
Oliver Banks, Retail Transformation Consultant and Podcast Host of The Retail Transformation Show, discussed the importance of intriguing window displays and a clear proposition. Consumers need a motive to visit a store, to do this, retailers need to really understand their consumers and deliver a store that is compelling and current, encompassing the latest trends.
Consumers are looking to interact and gain meaningful experiences, others want speed and convenience, and some want both. Retailers have so much data at their fingertips but this needs to be utilised further. There is information available to understand consumer behaviour, define what will resonate and interest them and help predict what the next trend or action will be. Data is critical if retailers are going to deliver the personalised experience consumers are growing to expect!
It’s no secret many department stores are going through a challenging period. To combat this, they need to re-think current strategies, pinpoint what consumers want in relation to product-mix and experience, and re-shape their proposition.
Global retail influencer, Founder and CEO of Retail Reflections and Forbes and Retail Week contributor, Andrew Busby said: “Stores must be exciting, interesting, intriguing, inspiring. Selfridges does this very well. I spoke to someone recently who described Selfridges as passing the 15-year-old test. When I asked what that meant he said he couldn’t drag his 15-year-old son out of the store.”
Positioning stores in the right location, near brands that compliment and are easily accessible is also key. People don’t want to have to travel out of their way to go to one store when they could buy online… unless there is an experiential incentive.
Successful retailers are those focusing on their consumers, how they are changing and understanding what they are looking for.