Tuesday, March 2, 2021

THE SHOPPER OF THE FUTURE AND RETAIL

The second part of the ‘The Future Shopper’ live talk from Expo Riva Schuh shows retailers and brands the strategies to adopt in order to respond to the demands of new consumers.

The sharing of values, personalisation and the creation of positive experiences. These are the key drivers which retailers and brands will need to strive for if they want to intercept the new consumer profile that is emerging from the pandemic. So what are these new consumers like? They are more responsible, closer to their own community and proponents of ‘slow’ shopping,’ increasingly dependent on digital technology, affording them an autonomous approach to shopping and, despite the complications of the present time, they look to the future with optimism.

This is what emerged from the second part of ‘The Future Shopper’ live talk from the Expo Riva Schuh programme which featured Enrico Cietta, CEO of Diomedea, Maria Eugenia Errobidarte, senior consultant at WSGN, and Emanuela Prandelli, Director of the Fashion, Design & Experience Management Master at SDA Bocconi.

Retailers and brands will need to come to terms with a new kind of consumer – more knowledgeable and responsible than before, and, in a certain sense, an ‘activist-consumer,’ to whom they will need to provide a solid set of values that doesn’t just stop at storytelling, but that translates into actions that can be mirrored, if they are to be successful.  All of this goes beyond the eco-sustainability of the product and must include social responsibility, respect for people and the community and also considered choices...a tangible commitment which is demanded above all by the Generation Z, whose consumption share will be increasingly consistent in the near future. Another phenomenon which has gained popularity in the midst of responsible consumption is that of ‘second-hand,’ a market forecast to account for a 15% share in 2030, (not to mention rental, which is also on the increase), and which provides brands with an opportunity to enter the prime market.

An additional imperative for retailers and brands is product and service personalisation which offers an exclusive shopping experience. Thanks to digital technology, it is possible to engage in a dialogue with the consumer that is totally targeted, offering an experience packed with emotive values, and that weaves a deeper relationship whilst building loyalty. As far as the product itself is concerned, consumers are prepared to spend up to 50% more for it to be personalised, as long as in exchange you not only have a better fit, but also the perception of being unique and the pride of feeling like a self-designer. But care must be taken not to overdo the personalisation. Consumers of luxury goods prefer it to be less exaggerated so as not to lose the brand’s recognition.

The pandemic will leave behind significant traces in consumption habits and retailers will have to offer safe, hygienic, contactless solutions through increasingly present digital technology in retail outlets. Despite consumers’ desires to leave fear behind and look forward optimistically to the future, they will seek experiences both on and offline that meet this expectation. To respond to them, retailers will have to use the power of entertainment, and the playful creation of ‘dreamscapes,’ using colours and elements that transmit positivity, reinforcing optimism with the personal touch.

To sum up, the factors that will determine retail success in intercepting the shopper of the future are: offering personalised customer service; inducing optimism; providing exceptional standards of hygiene; implementing CSR strategies and having a digital first approach.