The rate at which our world is evolving is mind boggling. In fact, it’s changing so fast it’s become difficult to keep up. Switch off your phone, and you’ll soon be out of touch. It’s also become increasingly competitive as more businesses have opened and are appealing to your customers who you’re already finding difficult to attract.
Instead of giving up though, it’s time to push back. It’s also time to understand who your customers are and how they shop. After all, their mindset has changed, and it’s your duty to figure them out so you can adapt the way you sell to them.
Diving into the mindset of your modern-day shopper
The world we currently inhabit is one where we expect things to happen quickly and efficiently.
That means the mindset of your modern-day shopper is one of urgency, convenience and social influence. Let’s break it down.
When your customer wants something, they want it now. Not later today or tomorrow. Now. So, if they go into your store and find it doesn’t have what they want, they’ll be disappointed and might even complain. That might sound like your customers are demanding but it’s reality. Your customers are demanding. But they have every reason to be like this.
Life has become so busy that they don’t have time to walk into a store, browse for an hour or two looking for a product or products they might have seen online, and then wait in a long queue.
Online shopping has skyrocketed in the past few years. According to Fin24, in South Africa alone, online spending is forecasted to grow to over R53-billion by 2018.
It’s not hard to understand why. Online shopping is convenient. All you need to do is log on to a store’s website, click on what you want to buy and pay. Within the click of a few buttons, you have what you want.
It helps that this whole process can take as little as 10 minutes and you don’t need to leave your home.
3. Social influence
Social media has taken over our lives, affecting everything including the way we do business. It’s also shaped the way we buy products since social media allows us to compare what we own with others.
Your friends or even a celebrity shows off their latest buy and extol how amazing it is, and you’ll likely want it too.
Reasons why the mindset of today’s shopper has changed
Finding reasons behind why the mentality of today’s customer has changed can be traced to a few factors. One is to do with social standing and attempting to stay up to date with everyone.
While in the past, your average customer was only buying what they needed and on occasion, would splurge, today they’re spending more money on buying expensive products. For example, they see an advert for a TV that has all the bells and whistles. A similar, cheaper product provides the same experience, but they have to have the more expensive TV.
It’s the classic ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ scenario where you have to have the latest products. And they might not even be the best products on the market.
And then there is the fact that today’s shopper is more empowered than ever. 20 years ago, your customer’s didn’t have Google or social media. Can you even consider them shopping for a product without checking it out online first and comparing it to others?
Your customer would essentially be uninformed and easily influenced by the salesperson they speak to then. Today, however, when they walk into a store, they probably know the same, if not more about a product than your salesperson. The result is an empowered customer who you can't bully into buying a product.
How can retailers accommodate today’s shopper?
Considering your modern-day customer is better informed than ever before, it now becomes critical to figure out how to provide for them. After all, your end goal as a retailer is to keep them happy so that they can continue coming back to your store.
But how do you do that?
One way is to offer in-store convenience by ensuring you offer a good range of well-positioned products so your customer’s overall shopping experience is a pleasurable one. Retailers also need to look into the possibility of self-checkout systems, which have already been implemented in countries like the United States and Australia.
Another way is to make it more attractive for your customers to enter your stores rather than letting them purchase a product online. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer online shopping facilities. Online shopping is quick and convenient, and it has its place. However, shopping is about the overall experience.
What about installing a popcorn machine or kiddie rides near the front of your store for the kids so they can pull their parents in? Once in, your customer’s eyes are bound to wonder, and their wallets will open.
Or if they’re a family with a husband not interested in spending a Saturday morning at the mall, what about a coffee or sports corner to keep them entertained?
The mindset of your modern-day shopper has undoubtedly changed. That said, as a retailer, the way you sell to them needs to change too. Fail to match up how you sell and what you offer with what they expect, and you can presume they’ll leave unhappy and unlikely to return to your store.