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Shopper Trends|October 17, 2017

Shoppers Have Ditched Routines: Here's How to Reach Them

When it comes to shopping, the routine has all but disappeared for a significant portion of shoppers. Fortunately, a wealth of digital technology can help brands and retailers intercept shoppers – if they prioritize. We’ve got three disarmingly easy ways to do so.

Want to sum up the shopper’s path to purchase in 10 words? Try these: “I get what I need when I think of it.”

Translation: The shopper is everywhere. No schedule, no list, no regular path to purchase. After decades of unraveling, the shopper routine has basically dispersed.  Half of the shoppers we recently surveyed said they do not have a routine for buying the basics, according to our new How America Shops® report, “Goodbye Routine, Hello New Trips.” 

This can make intercepting the shopper in the store feels as futile as catching the wind in a butterfly net.

Fortunately, a spectrum of digital technology can help retailers and brands meet their shoppers, even in-store. But to use these tools effectively, they have to fluidly respond to the most basic shopper requirements. We’ll explore some of those needs, but first, let’s look at what shoppers told us.

No Routine, No Commitment

Through our research, a consistent theme emerged: Shoppers are less committed — to a single brand, channel, and routine.  Rather, they are combining shopping solutions to resolve their needs on the fly.  Here’s how it plays out for grocery:

There is the second theme at play here – the role of technology in these shifts. 

3 Steps to Intercept at Store

The ways in which digital shopping can establish high visibility among stores are right under our noses.  They just have to resolve key shopper needs. 

  • Add Value Anyway Shoppers Want It: It’s an old standard, but with no routines, the definition of value extends beyond price. And possibly of greater demand is time. German retailer, Kochhaus has turned the traditional supermarket into a walk in recipe book with stores organized by recipes.  More importantly it’s omni-channel; shoppers can pick up their meal subscription in the store or have it delivered to their door.  
  • Use Digital to Create Accessibility:  Technology can shorten the path to stores by eliminating other sources of friction.  Walmart’s soon-to-release Mobile Express Returns app addresses a major pain point by enabling shoppers to begin the return process at home and end it in a designated lane in-store, in half a minute.
  • Create a Destination with Technology:  Shoppers told us they want the latest shopping technology in-store.  Enter the new McDonald’s McCafé in Manhattan, where touchscreen kiosks promptly place orders and accept payments.

The shopper is everywhere, but a lack of routine does not translate to an absence of expectations.  They’ve upended their schedule because technology has made it more efficient to do so.  Use it to make the store worth their while, and they’ll think of you. 

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