George Blagden, John Goodwin posing for a photo

2019 Shopper MegaTrends: Hot or Not

Emotional connections are the secret to success for retailers who have strategically built deep relationships with their customers. These powerful connections are driven by data and technology, according to a new study that examines behaviors and emotions of 3,000 shoppers. The study reveals how even big retailers need to think and act small to build all-important emotional connections.

Here is an example of how one hugely successful retailer views the importance of emotional connections to its business model:

“Every day we bring to life possibilities that lie within each of us. We bring these possibilities to life through a physical, digital and emotional connection – a human connection. We do this across every touchpoint, we do this through data, and we tie all of this together across omnichannel services.” – Dave Kimbell, president and chief merchandising and marketing officer at Ulta Beauty.

Since I saw Kimbell speak about these concepts at ShopTalk in March he has been elevated to president of the company while retaining his former CMO position. Clearly, his vision of creating emotional connections is resonating with Ulta customers.

In the just released RIS “2019 Shopper MegaTrends Study,” which polls 3,000 shoppers, emotional connections are examined in such areas as omnishopping, evolving stores, evolving consumers, personalization and tipping point technology. And, as a special bonus, the report has a detailed section on the impact of the Amazon juggernaut is having on consumer behavior and competing retailers.

Key Shopper Insights

Among the many key takeaways in the study are:

  • More than half of consumers (54%) shop less in malls than five years ago and nearly a third (31%) shop less in stores. Nearly three quarters (73%) go online more than five years ago and more than half (61%) use smartphones more. Stores that are not upgraded with features, services and functions shoppers want will not be around long.
  • So what do consumers want? Here is a list retailers should focus on: order-only stores with products shipped to homes (73%), grab-and-go stores using self-checkout from customer’s own phone (69%), curbside pickup (69%), interactive shoppable screens (58%), and pickup lockers or kiosks (55%).
  • What drives today’s omnishopper? They will allow location-based alerts while in stores (71%), use mobile apps while in stores (69%), and do click-and-collect (67%). Note that 90% of shoppers who click-and-collect make extra purchases when visiting stores to pick up their purchases at least some of the time.
  • Walmart (48%) and Target (38%) score well in attracting shoppers to use their mobile apps while in their stores, however Kroger (8%), Best Buy (6%), and Home Depot (6%) do not.
  • Should you rush into voice commerce? Not yet. Even the big names – Amazon, Apple and Siri – do not show year-over-year penetration among shoppers. Of greater concern is half (51%) are unlikely to try it and have high concerns about trust and listening in the home (49%).
  • Amazon Prime membership has high penetration among shoppers (62%), but the percentage has not grown year-over-year while Costco, Sam’s Club and Target membership clubs now account for 30%-40% market penetration, a big jump from last year. Product search dominance, where Amazon is the clear leader at 66%, has also not increased while Walmart jumped from 41% last year to 58% this year.

The omnishopper has evolved in the 10 years since the term “omnichannel” emerged as a dominant force in retail. While the speed of this evolution is occurring faster than many retailers can match, the findings in this shopper study show several clear recommendations retailers should follow to align their tech investments and strategies to shopper wants and needs.

To download the complete report click here.

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