Alphonse Karr gave us the adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While that may ring true for history across the decades, shoppers in 2014 seem to prefer the motto: #JustAintCare.
And this is complicating things for brands. As new shopper behavior trends emerge, the retail landscape shifts and shopper marketing continues to evolve, those trying to stay ahead of the game have their hands more full than ever. While part of this is due to never-before-possible opportunities fueled by new tech, a lot can attribute to shoppers wanting everything, everyway, everywhere.
Shoppers wanting the best of all have led to some interesting contradictions…
The Paradox of Everywhere
- They want the store to have a virtual aisle (QR codes, tablets, etc.) that allows them to view the online catalogue, make a purchase and have it shipped to their home.
The Paradox of the Delight
- Shoppers want the seamless experience, wherein a brand connects with them throughout their purchase journey, ultimately enabling them to purchase when the impulse strikes.
- They want one-off timely messaging from the brand that doesn’t crowd in on their lives, and contains that great exclusive deal that pushes them off the fence and allows them to make the purchase totally guilt-free.
The Paradox of Protection
- More than ever shoppers demand customized content and deals based on who they are, what they like and where they shop.
- Shoppers are reluctant to share their personal information/purchase data in fear of having this data exploited by big business and brands.
The Paradox of the Identity
- Millennials have made it clear that they want entertainment and more importantly an individualized approach based on their identity built into every attempt to communicate/sell to them.*
- Millennials have been labeled the “Reset generation”** given their tendency to drastically transform their identity and value system on the fly as they claw their way to success in spite of today’s obstacles – meaning as a generation they are the ultimate moving target where who they were last year is only a Instagram filtered photo of who they are today
[*“Marketing to Millennials” report by Mintel]
[**“Millennials, Debunking the Myth” study by Initiative]
How should brands and retailers navigate these opposing demands?
In a word: Try.
The extended answer is: Understand your shopper and embrace them as people! Try to meet as many of the above check boxes as possible. The silver lining is that after some decoding, all of the paradoxes and each of their opposing sides all have one thing in common: contradictory or not, they all require the brand or retailer to make the effort to show they get their shopper, and are doing their best to work with them and their wishes. Solve their problems, caused by their conflicts? Make them happy. Grow Your business.
Few have the budget to execute on all levels at all times, but shoppers reward those who are doing what they can – as evidenced by the response to Safeway’s multi-faceted Just For U program and Warby Parker’s highly flexible “try on in-store, at-home or virtually” approach that got them to hit their annual sales target in the first three weeks upon opening up shop. Shoppers do notice when brands/retailers implement unprecedented changes that try to make their experience better and lives easier.
Conclusion: Those that can hunker down and respond to shoppers’ demands with appropriate tactics, flexibility, transparency, connection, and value will stand out and win. #try
Matt O'Toole is an associate shopper marketing strategist based out of Momentum Chicago.