Isn't it just all shopping?
Over the last 60 years, have our expectations of shopping really changed that much?
In the 50's and 60's it was the rise of the supermarket causing the corner shops distress and giving the high street its first taste of mass consumerism. By the 70's, catalogues were dropping through our door giving customers their first taste of home shopping and the convenience it brought.
By the 80's mass direct mail and the brave new world of telemarketing were encroaching on the traditional retail space, asking us to buy into the next edition of Readers Digest, or pickup a fabulous new decorated plate that just 'completes our exclusive American Indian collection'.
So what's changed?
Since the advent of the 'modern shopper', There's been TV shopping, advertorials, e-commerce, digital Point of Sale, QR scanning, m-commerce, s-commerce, app-commerce. The list goes on, but in essence nothing has changed.
All of the above has peaked, shown potential for dominance at one point, but then quickly become part of our normal daily shopping experience and gradually adjusted our perception of 'great'.
The number of variables we process in our shopping journeys are truly endless.
Customers don't truly see the difference between all these forms of shopping fulfilment. Their perception is first of the brand, and then whether the experience they receive will satisfy their 'need'. Shopping after all, for many, is an inherent need that has to be satisfied and for some an addiction.
The method of HOW they buy is therefore largely a tertiary decision and is more a service and convenience related one.
- I've just seen a TV advert for X brand.
Where's my tablet?
- I'm on the commute into the office, let's see what's new in at my favourite retailer.
Can I pick it up on the way home?
- Im shopping with my daughter for her birthday.
Let's research some products and add them to my wish list for later. Then I can try and get the best price I can.
Look for the common element of expectation.
All consumers have, through the interaction with the market and the opinions and recommendations of those around them, a baseline of their expectations of a retailer. As their favourites embed the same levels of service and quality, any brands vying for their attention have to meet that 'Common element of expectation'.
As with all good growth strategies, your customers will tell you a lot, if you ask them. Retailers need to establish what customers share as their common expectations and the brands they frequent, to then set out a clear strategy for the future. This will then in turn help enable the retailer to be the one changing the customers perceptions of what good looks like.
Go on be brave. Ask them today!