Thursday, July 16, 2009

In-Store Exposed: What will appeal to tomorrow’s shoppers in this new world?

Videoclip below

Candace Adams, SmartRevenue
Chris Borek, Target
Tom McCann, Staples
Ryan Mathews, FedEx

John Dranow, SmartRevenue

What this evening’s discussion will focus on is the future, product proliferation, media fragmentation and unlimited information (and how these elements) have created an environment in which 50% of decisions are made at the point of purchase. There has been a paradigm shift from big brands, big media and traditional research working to the challenging present where differentiation is essential, impulsivity is required and smart media is a winner. We now have skeptical and highly informed consumers.
Now it seems that economic volatility and changing values have created an uncertain future that has an identity defined by non-tangible assets and the conspicuous accumulation and consumption of goods.
First Panel Question:
“What do you think the future is going to be?”
Candace Adams: We are on the edge of radical change with retail. We will begin to see a huge push. Retailers will be required to lead, to follow or to move out of the way. Thinking about a mall, how many more customers can be brought if I am collocated with other retailers? Some retailers try to tap into the fact that customers are time starved, so we’ll see more retailers following suit. So many retailers have been pushed out of the way, Linens&Things, Lord&Taylor and the auto industry, for example. Consumers are becoming very savvy and we’ll being to see a proliferation of in-store messaging.
Chris Borek: At Target we look at a few different things, we are looking to become more transparent and we think about presenting the shopper with what she wants. Specifically from a store and from a retailer perspective, she wants to know what is on sale, what is new and what things matter the most. Don’t be complacent because your brand needs to evolve.
Tom McCann: The retailing world of the near and possibly distant future means that we will see about 35% of shoppers will have money and be ready for luxury but the majority of customers will look for value. We can’t see the credit card crunch ending soon, and it makes shoppers think more about the purchases that they are going to make.
Ryan Mathews: I live in Detroit, we have been in a recession for 30 years now. I think that we will see more people living under one roof and I don’t think that they will necessarily be all family. The idea of family will evolve and change as people cut back and look for ways to stretch their money. We are on the verge of perpetual change at retailing. Things will never be the same—ever and change will accelerate like a “snowball down the mountain.”

Second Panel Question:
“How are you preparing for the future or how would you recommend others prepare for the future?”
Candace Adams: One of the things that should be done is to enhance customer loyalty and moving away from just wanting to turn a product. By doing so, competitors will become more savvy and steal those customers from you. No longer are we students of commerce, we are students of psychology and behavior. It’s important to embrace technology as customer’s become even savvier. It’s also important that you take ownership in your retail space. You should make your shopper’s experience clean and clutter-free. Be true to your brand and don’t go off strategy.
Chris Borek: We are doing things that we haven’t done in the past, but providing price points in advertising. There has been a departure from shiny glossy figures to the affluent, savvy soccer mom who is the CEO of her family. Target is looking to a multi-channel focus to create a guest experience; Target provides information where she wants it when she wants it.
Tom McCann: It’s about brand, how you treat your brand and using technology to connect with your shoppers. Being where your shoppers are when they want to hear from you. Over the future, small business people are very conscious about value and will be continually interested in value and quality and making sure that they understand how much Staples values them and their role as business owners.
Ryan Mathews: Uncertain does not mean unknowable. The future will be science and social science and art. We should create sustainable relationships with customers, a lifetime relationship with a customer. “You have to own your own identity as a retailer,” Candace Adams and Mathews is in agreement. In a retail environment you create your identity around the things that you have available to your customer and that is an art form. Information, in and of itself can be dangerous.
Candace Adams: It will be crucially important moving forward to be instilled in the digital technology around us, to connect with shoppers.
Ryan Mathews: Increasingly, customers will be agnostic about platform they will enter and exit wherever they see fit. Digital media will make it easy for everyone to be a marketer of a particular product. You should use these tools in the digital space but use them naturally.
Chris Borek: It’s about earning her trust, it’s about figuring out how she really feels when she thinks of Target first and then other retailers second.
“What about bad online reviews?”
Tom McCann: When you open up your websites for reviews, you have to accept that sometimes customer comments may be bad or detrimental to products.
Ryan Mathews: You are either open or you’re not.
Chris Borek: You have to be a part of the conversation, you just can’t avoid it.
Final Thoughts:
Candace Adams: You must continually work to evolve yourselves. It should never be static.
Chris Borek: Knowing what you stand for and knowing what you don’t stand for. Figure out what is appropriate to evolve and not deviating from that evolution.
Tom McCann: Your brand and your customers, how you are going to relate to your customers and looking at how to adjust your strategies to those things around you is so important.
Ryan Mathews: Challenging times produce great successes.


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