Are You Ready For The 21st Century Shopper?

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

In the U.K., 96% of adults are members of loyalty programs, but most of these people say that they’d still shop in the same stores even if they didn’t have a loyalty program

It’s one of the many facts, figures and examples put forward by Jim Crawford, executive director of the Global Retail Executive Council and principal of Taberna Retail, Seattle, Washington, at the welcome dinner of the CIO Retail Summit Sunday night in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Asking the Summit delegates whether they were ready for the new shopper, Crawford threw them such facts as:

  • 80% use a laptop or mobile phone while watching TV (even higher if you include the iPad);
  • Shopping apps are the most sticky apps on the iPhone;
  • On Black Friday (a U.S. day of notoriously low prices), 64% of shoppers used an app for price comparisons even while in a store;
  • Customers are looking for customer service, more information, and a personal experience;
  • 75% of consumers don’t believe that companies tell the truth;
    Word of mouth is a huge influencer (think Social Media);
  • In the U.K., people won’t wait more that two minutes in a queue if they want to buy something and 51% won’t even enter a store if there’s a queue.

Crawford pointed out the huge growth in mobile, mentioning that he bought 92% of his Chistmas presents online last Christmas, not only because of convenience and price but also because of the delivery service.

“Along with the ‘social’ revolution, mobile changes everything,”
he said. “And people shop all the time: at home, at work, on their tablets, on the go – and they’re always looking for information. Stores have to be different, too, so they know how to respond. It’s all about innovation.”

Noting how technology has to engage the customer, Crawford used several examples. One was a wall calendar produced by Audi, with no photos of cars. But when a viewer engaged it with a smart phone, a car would appear in the scene. Further, when a new model would be launched, it would happen within the setting as well.

He also showed how a Japanese promotion involving chasing and capturing virtual butterflies influenced campaign by New Balance that offered a prize to the value of $20,000. Another product praised for innovation was Digital Paint which involves projections onto buildings.

Crawford ended his address with comments on capturing innovation, one of which was a line I’d never heard before: “Organization sites are innovation killers.” I expect that a lot of companies will take note.

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