The needs of consumers remain the same as they have ever been but the expectations of how businesses meet those needs have changed. This was the line that Henry Tucker of The Futures Company and Steve Mader of Kantar Retail were keen to stress at this morning's launch of their new report: "The Future Shopper".
Despite all the technological change of recent years, technology should confine itself to a supporting role in shopping – it is more important to focus on consumer attitudes. In this respect, a new age for shoppers is here, brought about as people worldwide have come to accept that the economic pressures first caused by the financial crisis are likely to stay for longer than previously expected. It's made consumers concerned about their own financial prospects and suspicious and distrustful of businesses.
That said, younger generations – the digital dependants – are growing up only knowing a life that contains the internet and expect a seamless experience between their digital and physical environments. Digital has disrupted the traditional view of the purchase funnel, as retailers and brands no longer hold the first connection with shoppers. Instead, The Futures Company has proposed the "Purchase Fish" that depicts how consumers approach shopping for products now:
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Tucker highlighted four trends that will be the biggest drivers of change in shopper behaviour. Consumers are in search of:
For retailers to respond to these desires, Mader exhorted them to become "CLEVer" – to excel in at least one, and preferably more, of these areas:
"The Future Shopper: How changing shopper attitudes and technology are re-shaping retail" is available to download from warc.com.