The shopper of 2017 is not only looking for an authentic retail experience – but demands to be fully understood by the brands that they know and love across all touch points.
Speaking to Inside Retail ahead of the upcoming Retailer Awards, Jemma Caprioli, marketing director of Dashing Group said technology has changed the characteristics of today’s shopper – who really are that different to previous generations.
“Their loyalty is driven by their desire for a personalised and relevant retail experience,” she said.
“If they like to be communicated to via text message and not email, the retailer should know that. If they like to try on clothes in store but get them delivered to their home rather than lug shopping bags around, then the retailer should know that.”
Understanding whether instore is more about experience and theatre or merchandising mix is not a straight forward proposition within the industry today.
“Shopping centres, malls and even the high street provides some form of entertainment for shoppers now,” said Caprioli.
“The value is in capturing and holding their attention. Keeping them in the vicinity of retail stores, ensuring they have everything they need to have a great experience in one place.
“Not to mention the short attention span of today’s generation – if a retailer isn’t engaging with you via your mobile phone, they had better be doing a damn good job of it in the real world because most of their customers are head down.”
Retailers trying to being everything to everyone at all times are also taking several, often unnecessary risks.
“The most successful retailers have worked very hard to develop a brand persona that mirrors their customer and it is definitely not about taking a punt, not if you want to remain successful as the retail landscape continues to change and evolve,” said Caprioli.
“I believe a retailer in today’s environment must be flexible to the everchanging needs of their customer and this spans from the way that they market to the way they visually merchandise in their stores.
“Customers are fickle creatures in 2017 and are easily distracted by discounts in other stores, or a new retailer that has a fresh look,” said Caprioli
The real question that retailers must ask themselves is, according to Caprioli, is what do we offer that drives customer loyalty to our brand, above and beyond our competitors? Impressing today’s customer has to go beyond visual merchandising and it’s important to speak to customers as individuals – not nameless, faceless numbers.
“The future success of retailers will depend on whether they can deliver a genuine connection with their shoppers, and that will be driven from devices that we all use on a daily basis,” said Caprioli.
“Brands will eventually all have a dedicated app that loyal customers will be plugged into so they can receive relevant and personalised offers that make sense to them. The future store experience will be crafted to the individual and highly intuitive.”
Time is fast running out to get submissions in for the 2017 Inside Retail – Retailer Awards presented by Dashing. Click here to get your nominations in.