SVP for Shopper Marketing, Laura Moser is based out of our Chicago office and is, of course, an expert in the field. We asked her what matters to her when she's shopping and what trends she sees coming up.
What is the thing you’ll never buy online, that you’ll only buy in person?
Art! I think technique, personality and feel is such an important part of the piece and it is so difficult to get a read online. I currently have two pieces at home on "loan" so I can experience them in the actual space; context is critical. What is fantastic on a webpage or gallery wall may not be the same experience in your living space.
What’s the store you’ll go into just because of the windows?
Furniture stores! Even when you don't have a lick of room, there is nothing like walking by a Restoration Hardware or Crate and Barrel and instantly being converted into now hating your couch or coffee table—when it was not an issue five minutes earlier.
Do you prefer to shop online or just use it to “window shop”?
Online is the pathway to eliminating all my mundane stock-up needs. From paper towels, toilet paper, dog snacks and puppy pads—Amazon can become a busy professional’s best friend. And, when you are looking for something special and the millions of options fail you, you can find new custom solutions.
When I recently couldn’t replicate an out-of-stock copper wall planter through several home décor sites, online became the instant way to source a copper artist in Colorado, who connected me to a iron artist in upstate New York and wham, a complete replica of the planter. I define shopping online to mean “a portal to finding solutions to any purchase desire, through traditional and non-traditional pathways.”
What apps for shopping are the most useful? Who is your favorite?
Cardstar is my current favorite; who wouldn’t love having the ability to eliminate every retail loyalty card in your wallet—I consolidated 21! After that it would be Walgreens’ app where I can instantly refill medications, quick print photos, view weekly deals and then participate in health and wellness tracking programs. It is truly the embodiment of a retailer delivering on being your health and wellness partner.
What parts of in-store shopping do you think will stick around?
All of it! Consumers still desire immersive experiences within brick and mortar. It is the consolidation of retail that we are more likely to see than fast-diminishing parts of the in-store experience. Those retailers who will succeed are going to be the ones that recognize they are not a warehouse, shelf-to-cart solution but more of a place where consumers will seek and be loyal to when you deliver a better mix of targeted product offerings. People want products that are relevant to them in an environment that is experience-based and delivers enjoyment and information when needed.
How would you like new technologies to make shopping more fun or easier?
Allow me to highlight/submit the key categories I am tracking and interested in. And then, when I enter the store, recognize me as a shopper and call out the alignments. Neiman Marcus has armed sales associates with iPads that allow them to instantly recognize shopper profiles as they entered the store and provide the staff with the needed data to support with suggestive selling. Imagine the day you could walk into a gourmet food shop and receive an instant message that your favorite French goat cheese, new gluten-free products and sparkling wine are all on sale…sounds like dinner!
What shopping technology totally misses the mark?
Food shopping list apps both from retailers and manufacturers and equity sources (food sites.) Today's shopper seeks out multiple channels and categories to get her trips and missions covered. To date there is no one resource that really recognized as best in class, with the exception of Peapod, who through the nature of their service, actually have provided a new level of convenience to maintaining weekly orders as well as special family needs.
What excites/attracts you in an in-store display?
Education, inspiration and ease of navigation. When you come across a true destination versus a medium just for talking at me with your marketing message, that is when the conversion to becoming a buyer can actually happen. Best Buy does an amazing job in developing experiences in the store to show you new products that you might never have even thought of before. Sometimes it can be hard to understand individually what each thing does on its own. But when the products are collectively brought together to help show me how to conserve on energy, or drive cleaner air quality, or recycle my old technology, I am now willing to enter into a consideration process previously ignored.