What do shoppers want most?
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from COLLOQUY, provider of loyalty marketing publishing, education and research since 1990.
Pressured by data-enhanced online competition, nimble startups and super-powered shoppers, retailers are inventing new ways to romance shoppers, and that means identifying what they want most.
Here are five developments that shoppers can expect in 2018.
- More free services: Today’s shopper can expect free cosmetic treatments, in-home tech consultations, in-store tech classes, curbside pickup and more. Free samples are rarely rejected, but now they are “sooo 2015”.
- More relevant offers and suggestions: Alibaba uses deep learning to enable what it calls FashionAI: in-store interactive screens that make clothing and accessory suggestions to shoppers based on what they are trying on. The screen does not use a camera; it reads information on product tags and relies on a memory of millions of clothing items, by store. Artificial intelligence and machine learning is helping retailers accurately assess shopper preferences and make on-the-money suggestions.
- More for less (time). Freestanding kiosks that offer endless aisles of products, new store layouts to accommodate quick trips and grab-and-go meals at the door will be commonplace as retailers retrofit their formats.
- More bargaining. Many electronics chains are willing to haggle on price, according to Consumer Reports. Jet.com shoppers can get lower prices on items if they order more than one of each. MoviePass and Smashburger are among brands offering unlimited or nearly unlimited products and services for a flat fee. In many cases, the shopper only needs to use the pass a few times a week to break ahead.
- Less aggravation: Casper Mattress answers the generations-long plea to just get the mattress into the bedroom without a rope, car roof and sore back. Walmart’s return app, Mobile Express Returns, and the retail service, Happy Returns, both simplify the returns process. Retailers are acknowledging shopper pain points for what they are: Barriers to purchase, not necessary evils.
Technology liberates shoppers to purchase their shoes, meals and makeup based on what is at their fingertips at the precise moment they need these things, so why settle for less? Retailers know the only way to stand out is to be amazing.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which of the trends cited in the article do you think physical retailers should invest and build on? Are there others you would add?