The 2020 Retail Barometer by Altavia ACT* show us that the corona pandemic has polarised the shopping experience. Retailers need to reinvent themselves based on reshuffled consumer expectations and adapt to the ‘new normal’. That requires planning, testing and failing forward. That’s the only way to win.
Innovate to survive
The corona crisis accelerated the polarisation of consumers. The retail sector is faced with opposites: next to fun shopping, run shopping appeared, but there is also a world of difference between low-cost and premium, local vs global, data vs privacy, abstinence vs indulgence, individualism vs collectiveness, organic vs industrial, health vs the economy…
Shopping experiences will have to cater for this ‘accelerated normal’. This will inevitably have an influence on the points of sale, both brick & mortar and digital. As it is increasingly difficult to please everyone, brands will have to innovate to survive. The guide to take for their endeavours is a closer look at the users and their (new) expectations.
New ways of buying
The shift in expectations leads to new ways of consuming. In immature markets, price, time and choice will probably continue to attract customers. In mature markets however, retailers need to distinguish themselves differently to remain successful e.g. with values, guidance, protection, exchange…
A side-effect of the health crisis is the increased speed of digital adoption. Consumers discover and expect new ways of online consumption such as subscriptions, appointments, short or long-term rental, online sales etc. These are new levers to boost sales, especially in less mature sectors like food.
Choose your battles
Retailers that spread their efforts out broadly and thinly are bound to lose market share. The way forward is to understand your clients and focus on specific expectations. Innovative players providing niche goods and services, supported by good communication, will thrive.
The current disruption will cause established brands to fade or disappear, in favour of new companies that focus on the consumers and the society they live in. This requires a plan and lots of testing. User centricity is the only way to win the battle for the consumers’ heart.