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Shopper Trends|March 11, 2019

Surrounded by Chaos, Shoppers Take Control

Harried shoppers are trying to regain power in the areas of their lives where they could, and today that includes shopping trips. Retail brands should give it to them if they want to see higher sales. Based on what shoppers told us, we’ve devised a four-step strategy.

Their world is in the grips of chaos, from politics at home and around the world to media overload, climate change, and economic hairpins. But what stressed-out shoppers can take control of is how they shop. And they are.

Consumers have made this clear to us in several quantified studies for our How America Shops® research: They want less chaos and more efficiency in their shopping trips. Here’s how retail brands can do that for them.

Steps to Efficient Shopping

It isn’t fresh news that shoppers will pay extra for convenience and calm. What is news is the many fresh ways retailers can deliver it.

1. Swap lost time for happy time.

Customers want to complete the shopping task fast so they can do other things. But keep in mind: Sometimes those other “things” include another leisurely hour in the aisles. Good examples: Bloomingdale’s tempts shoppers with its self-indulging fragrance floor, while Target’s Made By Design home brand, which includes 750 affordable, functional products for every corner of the house, adds value to store time.

2. Hand over control via digital tools.

Walmart, Kroger, and Target, to name a few, have in short order made online pick-up in store a standard practice. Nearly one-third of shoppers told us they use it, and it’s still in its early stages. Thanks also, retailers, for loading coupons on our phones and circulars on our tablets, also used by one-third of shoppers.

3. Trade in chaos for calm and organize your store.

What organizing whiz Marie Kondo did for homes, retailers, and brands can do for the shelf: Look at the selection you offer and ask, “Does this bring my shoppers' joy?” Shoppers return to places that offer a respite from time-sucking disorder. Too much choice is no choice. Being able to sort the choices quickly is joy for shoppers.

4. Multi-task like shoppers do.

We are culturally accustomed to doing (at least) two things at once. We cook while watching YouTube videos; cheer on soccer stars when listening in on conference calls; stream a favorite show on Netflix while ordering shoes online. Naturally, shoppers expect the products they buy to multitask as well – and some winners are delivering: “smart” bottled waters that pack vitamins, NARS Multiple cosmetics that work as a blush, lip color and eyeshadow, all in one stick. And don’t forget the new conveniences that cost a bit more but shoppers have voted “worth my time,” whether it’s pre-cut veggies, meal kits, Keurig pods or a quick facial mask. They are voting for time to get control.

Lastly, rinse and repeat. It’s that simple. Shoppers will pay a little more for control, it’s just a matter of recognizing what they see as chaos, and handing them the power to master it.

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