From Eve-olution to showrooming, The Metamorphosis Group’s visual retail specialist Eve Reid gives us her 10 pointers on the shopper psychology that is shaping the retail landscape in 2015.
1. GENERATIONAL CROSSOVER
There are more than 20 million people over the age of 50 living in the UK today. And yet retailers are still obsessively focused on young people. As we are down-ageing, this new ‘ageless society’ creates many trends that have impacted on the retail landscape.
Consumers have been nostalgic for carefree childhoods and have found comfort in familiar pursuits and products from their youth. Plus, we have really started to appreciate being alive, and that’s leading to a greater awareness that good health extends longevity and leads to a new way of life. So in 2015, if you want to flourish you need to consider the generational crossover and the implications of this demographic shift.
Women are the biggest market on earth but they are largely ignored because most of the world is run by men. Given that women buy 65% of cars and make 81% of financial decisions, this is retail suicide!
In 2015, if you want to survive you need to understand how to market to women. You need to get women to join your brand by building lasting, meaningful relationships with them and recognising their needs, both personally and professionally.
3. HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE
Life is too fast paced; we have too little time and we have been forced to assume multiple roles. In 2015 we are still leading increasingly hectic lives, but a significant amount of people are cashing out – questioning personal and career satisfaction and goals, and opting for simpler living. This has impacted on the way we shop and we are looking for easier ways to do so.
Retailers need to give customers the ability to interact and complete transactions on their terms. If a customer wants to view an item online, purchase it using their smartphone and then return it by dropping it in store, they should be able to do so in a smooth and seamless way.
In 2015, retailers must understand the new role of physical channels and adjust store sizes, layouts, assortments, fixture arrangement and entertainment factors accordingly, to deliver the full brand experience.
4. EXPERIENCE, NOT PRODUCT
Consumers are looking for something new and exciting. This coupled by the fact that a significant number of (lucky) people have got all the stuff they need already, 2015 consumers will be looking out for experiences not product. Research suggests that this is especially true for women.
This trend has had a big impact on the retail landscape and we’re starting to see very blurred lines. Bookshops now sell coffee, supermarkets now sell loans, water companies now sell gas, Ralph Lauren even sells white paint. But how far can you stretch a brand these days before it snaps?
This trend really works when retailers effectively show their values and specialism through a service or activity that engages customers and makes their life nicer, easier or richer. The Adidas Runbase in Tokyo is a great example. It has been designed to accommodate lockers and a shower room so that runners can drop into the base, rent a locker and then have a shower after their run.
5. LUXURY VS COMMODITY
Past years have led stressed-out consumers to indulge in affordable luxuries as a way of rewarding themselves. Now, thanks to incredibly clever marketing, luxury is moving fast towards ‘commoditisation’. It is our expectations as a society that has led us to act as if we should all have and do — regardless of income — what was once reserved for the rich. What started out as a rare luxury for the wealthy is slipping quickly into an affluent commodity.
As a moving target, luxury requires a quick response. You need to move away from mainstream; nothing says luxury better than custom made. Chances are, there is a story to your product – who makes it, the processes they go through, where it is made — and that story has value. Each of these elements will give your product a distinction.
6. MY WAY OR THE HIGH WAY
To offset a de-personalised society, consumers crave recognition of their individuality. One-size-fits-all marketing just wont cut it in 2015, which is why retailers will need to start implementing solutions to personalise each customer’s experience. While e-commerce sites have been doing this for years through tailored landing pages, offers and recommendations, a lot of bricks-and-mortar stores will get in on the fun this year too. How?
We will see much more educated store layouts; the era of push-based mass merchandising will be gone. Customisation will be huge, moving out of the era of mass and cheap into the age of luxury and made just for me. For the fortunate few this means bespoke products sold in brand experience stores with concierge-level service. For others it means limited-run products or mass customisation.
In 2015 the savviest of brands will begin to build small, highly engaged communities where they can learn more about what their customers want, need and desire.
7. SHOPPING FOR CHANGE
We’ve already got sweat-shop-free clothing brands, the return of neighbourhood retail and anti-supermarket sentiments, but we haven’t seen anything yet.
In 2015, we will start to see customers interrogating brands online and scanning products in supermarkets with mobile phones to check on the ethical policy of brands (you can already do this in Japan).
A new, younger (or young minded – see Generational Crossover), less greedy generation are making it cool to give. In 2015, consumers will increasingly look to retailers to not only help offer them a lifestyle and identity, but to give them something to believe in and become part of.
8. CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
So, you’re browsing through a little store and spot something really lovely. Interest piqued, you grab it, check the sales tag and gasp in surprise. Why on earth is it so much? Is it kissed by angels?
The reason behind your sticker shock is much less exciting: production costs and the long chain of people, who all want to make a profit, are involved in getting products onto shelves. In order to turn a profit, brands already need to mark pieces high enough to cover their overheads, but what we are now seeing more and more is companies cutting back on some of those extra costs.
In 2015 we will see more suppliers turn to retail and more retailers turning directly to the makers.
The phenomenon of shoppers coming to bricks-and-mortar stores to examine merchandise they later buy online is a paradigm shift that is here to stay. Retailers must embrace it as an opportunity to engage in-store shoppers to grow revenue and loyalty both online and in physical channels. This will require better trained and equipped sales assistants, assisted selling tools, service-based store layouts with highly curated assortments.
In 2015 retailers need to prepare themselves and plan for showrooming. It should make you more determined to find new and exclusive products, plus it will give your stores greater autonomy to leverage local events, negotiate prices and cater to the local customer base.
10. THE DEATH OF AVERAGE
In 2015 we will see less about sales conversion, and more about converting people. Brands will be defined by the people who use them. Stores will start to focus more on converting people into brand disciples rather than simply selling things. We will see the end of average. Stores will become highly visceral emotion centres where shoppers can fully immerse themselves in the brand ethos.
2015 will be the death of average, and the era of you.
To book yourself or a team-member onto a one-day Retail School course led by the Metamorphosis Group expert and covering topics like space planning, window dressing and visual merchandising – see upcoming dates here