The variety & #BANNER1 & # of products that are available today has changed drastically the way consumers think and behave. Andy Murray, global chief executive officer, Saatchi & Saatchi X, a shopper marketing agency focused on turning shoppers into buyers, talked of how it was possible for store owners to build a distinct brand in a retailer's world.
At present, the US has 85 per cent of the organised retail market in the world; India has just 3 per cent. Describing the US shopper's profile, Murray said that at least 75 per cent people in the US watch more than five TV channels every day. Most women in the US spend an hour every day shopping, and only one in four people stay loyal to a store.
Most stores today are fighting the battle of differentiation and trying to define their store as a brand. However, all of them face the challenge of getting close to the ultimate consumer. According to Murray, it's very important for retailers to step into the shoes of the shopper and ask themselves what it is that will really satisfy him/her. A retailer should try to create relevance for the shopper that will make the shopping experience pleasurable and easy. Citing an example, he said that if people are spending 19 minutes on an average inside a grocery store, 13 minutes are spent on locating the things they want and six minutes on actual shopping.
A Canada based grocery store chain, called Thrifty Foods, tried to create relevance for shoppers by reducing the wastage in shopping time. Thrifty Foods allowed shoppers to submit a list of things they wanted on the store website. Once the list was submitted, the website re-arranged the listed items in the order of their availability in the store and sent it back to the user. Now the shoppers could simply walk into the store with the list and pick up the items they wanted in the very order in which they were placed.
Citing another example, Murray said there are close to 1,35,000 convenience stores in the US. Most of these stores are designed according to the needs of men because the most sold products in these shops are gasoline and beer. Women can rarely find anything they want in them. One of the store chains decided to address this problem and started stocking the top five things women wanted. The store obviously received a better response from female consumers after that.
Murray pointed out that stores that provided unexpected inspiration to their customers in the form of surprise gifts and returns were found to rank high on their loyalty list. The unexpected returns created a sense of mystery in the shoppers and made them come back for more. He concluded by saying that retailers should try their best to understand what would constitute a dream shopping experience for a customer and make shopping a less stressful job for them. The overall relevance created by a retailer would go a long way in maintaining happy and loyal shoppers.