Simplicity is the new motto

The Altavia ACT* 2020 Retail Barometer provides a perspective on the shopper experience. Experts have come to a consensus: there is no world of before and world of after, but a continuum of events that retailers have to face and that will reshape shopper journeys. In two months, we have witnessed a digital transformation that should have taken 2 years, according to the US business charts. So what’s the impact on belgian retailers?

Three major trends that have accelerated/confirmed during this health crisis

  1. A shift in consumers expectations.
  2. Market polarization.
  3. The emergence of new ways of shopping.

One-way ticket to a successful retail

Even if your retail is powerful, without customer’s affinity, it’s pointless. There are multiple ways to measure affinity: we measure the Shopper Value, which is the link between clients and retailers. The secret is to understand your customer’s expectations to build a meaningful relationship with them. We have categorized 10 expectations of the modern consumer. They can be transactional and material like saving money, saving time, or finding what they’re looking for. These 3 expectations represent the basic contract between brand and consumer, they no longer make the difference. This contract evolves through time but especially through digital transformation.

The 7 other expectations shape Shopper Value. We're talking about information and guidance, protection, respect, having a good time, does the brand stand for values that the consumer shares, and can they share with other customers or even suppliers? The ultimate shopper experience would therefore bring together all of these 10 expectations.

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Digitalization at the service of the consumer

The digital disruption gives value to the link between retailers and consumers, the service layer added by the online shopping behavior like delivery and schedules better meets the consumer's expectations.

The retailer that gets the best shopper value in 4 out of 6 categories (DIY & Garden, home decor, cosmetics and lingerie) is Amazon! It's not so much that Amazon brings an incredible experience, it's that it transforms a category that has often been in denial, through user centric experiences. There is an urgent need for traditional and historical retailers to come out of denial, to dare to innovate, and above all to put the consumer at the centre of its concerns.

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How to fight against this amazonization? Two teams

  1. Disruptive team. “Digitalize or die”. What most Digitally Natives Vertical Brands do via customer knowledge through data and building online communities for example.
  2. Traditional team. Those who need to drastically and urgently improve their Shopper value; it’s because the customer experience does not meet the expectations of the modern consumer that Amazon is so easily established in some markets. If the value of the link between the consumer and the retailer becomes stronger, Amazon will find it harder to break that link.

Every retailer must find their purpose, their reason for being... then choose one of the 10 expectations and stretch it to the limit. Rediscover the social function of the store and better understand what’s going on in the physical stores. Positioning your brand on the extremes, having strong positions, not wanting to please everyone is the key. Choose the right expectation to be met for your target audience and keep in mind that points of sale are also places of social experience. Always seek simplification, we're moving towards non-linear shopping with online shopping, click & collect, where consumer’s buy when and where they want. Barriers can be removed by simplifying trade.

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