From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

Again...Shoppers Know What They Want

Throughout the pandemics, many independent retailers successfully shed their "technology laggards" label, as they pivoted to embrace an array of digital tools.

Yet going forward, it is well to keep in mind what really matters to the customers. And it may not be more technology.

A recent survey* of more than 2,000 customers provides some interesting insights as to who shops where, why, when and how. It especially highlighted the differences between "large stores" and "smaller stores" (or as we view them, "specialty stores.")

  • “The data revealed that 75 percent of consumers shopping at a larger store knew what they wanted before crossing the premises." 
  • Those who shop in larger retailers say 'We just want to get in and get out.'”

Hmm. This suggests to us that shoppers essentially are treating large stores the same way they treat the internet:

  • It’s very transactional.
  • They know specifically what they want, and go get it.
  • What they expect – and value – is efficiency and convenience.

Meanwhile, those who shop at the smaller stores - a little less than half of those surveyed - "were more eager to browse the aisles," according to the study.

To us, this suggests that shoppers are actually using these smaller stores to “go shopping.” Remember that?! What an opportunity!

  • Part of the experience they are seeking is a sense of discovery. 
  • They have a need; they expect to make a purchase; they just don’t know specifically what it will be.

What about technology?
The survey also indicates that customer expectations for in-store technology were more forgiving for the smaller stores. Whereas the larger stores are expected to be able to deliver a great digital experience. 

👀 This suggests to us that the digital focus of so-called "smaller stores" should be on marketing to get shoppers to their stores, and nurturing the customer relationship, rather than in-store technology such as customized apps, or a full-blown e-commerce shop.

As always, knowledgeable sales people are the key to building those customer relationships, plus shaping in-store shopping experience to showcase your merchandise selection.

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