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The new shopper

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A guest blog by Fairy Dharawat

To study what influences the shopper of today is difficult. This has a lot to do  with the many different categories of shoppers. Some categories are not even identified, but they exist in our world of retail. The wanderer shopper is one who has no need to come to the store, but comes rather for the feel of a community. The impulsive shopper is one who visits and buys products on a whim.

Grabbing the pulse of the shopper is getting trickier day by day. Identifying their pulse and what makes them buy the product is turning out to be more difficult then let us say 5 years ago. Why you may ask? What different kind of world have we come in to, that we are unable gauge the expectations of the average shopper?

In last five years a lot has changed and changed so quickly we haven’t had time to adapt. But today, time is turning out to be a sacred resource. It is becoming more important than money; we cannot equate money with time. Keeping up with the whims of the customers is turning out to be cumbersome. For starters let’s concentrate on the basics. What is your product and what newness can you bring to the table? Customers are diverse in their needs and demanding; in a changing economic environment they are often looking for value.

Skin care and personal hygiene products are a huge market. So let us take the example of personal care section. If you cater to this market then you also know how much conversion rate this market has. Do something about it; engage your shopper and entertain your shopper.

Shoppers have been exposed to many marketing ideas and are immune to many of them. That novel idea is still waiting to happen, that will sweep the shopper off their feet. So engage them and communicate with them. You decide how this can be done. It is only after you engage and entertain them, that they will relate to you and your product.

Shoppers do not like regular trips to market. It is a regular errand for them, a chore. Now your job as a retailer or a brand is to bring excitement to the shopper so that they will not only look forward to shopping at your store, but they will also tell their friends. You want your activity to be talk of the town. This activity may not be expensive, but novel and imaginative.

Shopping is a social experience for many shoppers. If possible make it more social for your shoppers. Give them an excuse to do something else, rather than the mundane, like have a coffee with friends. In a hair stylist, they can not only have a coffee, but talk about the latest products given a little prompting. Many supermarkets now make the store more of an experience with counters that sell other things that customers want and can browse, after they have bought what they need. They have coffee areas where customers can socialise. Even small businesses can copy these ideas. Have store staff engage with customers and ask their opinions. It doesn’t matter whether those opinions are useful or not, they enjoy a social experience and will be back for more. Surprise them by offering something different, a freebie or a service they didn’t expect. Who would have expected their favourite supermarket to offer loans and credit cards, but they do now. When the price of petrol went up in the UK, one supermarket capitalised on customer anger by offering a coupon with purchases to get a discount on petrol. It was only temporary, but it brought new customers through the doors; customers who if they enjoyed their experience, will be back. A social experience adds value to every product on sale.

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  1. Pingback: » Another week of ideas A Zillion Ideas and counting…

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