The new rules for shopping

Lloyd Burdett and Steve Mader
The Futures Company and Kantar Retail

In a major report on The Future Shopper, The Futures Company collaborated with Kantar Retail to tell the story of how shoppers, and shopping, are changing. This story is about how trends in economics, technology, society and values are combining to create a new shopper landscape. Together, these are creating new rules for retail. Lloyd Burdett and Steve Mader summarise the new principles.

The first headline change we are seeing in shopping trends is the shift from 'e-commerce' to 'everywhere-commerce' – the digital device is becoming an integral part of the shopper journey and both the purchase and post-purchase decision process.

Second, in richer markets, the economic landscape has changed fundamentally since the financial crisis. Consumers have seen their incomes squeezed and this has altered attitudes towards price and value, in particular, and consumption in general. Our research suggests that attitudes were changing from around 2005, before the crisis struck. Value is also a recurring issue in emerging markets, overlaid with questions of trust. As a result, we see shoppers searching for four things:

  • Mental space: removing emotional and informational clutter from their lives.
  • Assurance: that they will be treated properly and fairly by the companies they do business with.
  • Quality: the lifespan of their goods, from raw materials to eventual disposal (or in the case of services, about the quality of response).
  • Value: extending beyond discounting to questions about why a shopper should buy from a particular provider.