7 Ways Technology is Changing the Way Consumers Behave In-Store

By: Phillip Adcock
The retail landscape is constantly changing and the only way that
stores can keep up is by constantly evolving. But how?
Modern day consumers use technology in a way that is
completely different to consumers earlier in the decade. These changes have
altered the way shoppers navigate stores and shop. So how should shops be
following these changes ‘ or even anticipating them?
 1) Shoppers Are Using
Their Phones to Research and Buy Products In-Store
You might think that a customer browsing in your store is
giving your products their full attention ‘ 
but you may be wrong. Many shoppers are combining trips to the store with trips online,
comparing and contrasting price and quality. While you can’t always compete
with online stores, it’s worth seeing which products are competing with yours.
2) Amazon Dash Has
Given Consumers the Ability to Buy with the Push of a Button. How Are You
Competing?
Amazon is trying to corner the market in next-day
consumables with its new Dash button. A Dash button
automatically orders a set product for next-day delivery when pressed, with
products ranging from toilet paper to lemonade.
Amazon knows that one of the key things retailers need to do
to compete in the current market is to make shopping as quick and easy as
possible ‘ and make the process so simple, a child could do it (which is
potentially why one of the Dash buttons available orders a round of Play-Doh).
3) Overseas Importers
Offer Prices That Are Nearly Impossible to Beat. So What Other Advantages Can
You Offer?
One of the main types of retailers you’ll find online in
stores such as eBay and Amazon are importers. Importing products from China
allows them to source vast quantities of a product extremely cheaply, allowing
them to sell at a very low price, with many items at 99p. How can you be
expected to compete with those prices?
Answer: you can’t. Rather than cutting your profit margins
to try and match importers, make sure your business outshines theirs in ways
they can’t hope to compete. Instead, provide services that they cannot, such as
fast delivery and great customer service.
4) Modern Shoppers
Want to Speak Directly to You as a Company. Are You Easy to Reach?
One of the ways you can offer the level of customer service
that modern customers expect is to communicate with them directly on the
platforms they use. Consumers now expect to be able to do everything online, so
to provide strong customer service, you need to make yourself available to
them. Facebook and Twitter make it easy to interact with your customers, but
beware: companies can easily fall into traps on social media.
5) Every Store Needs
to Have a Mobile and App Equivalent. How Functional Is Yours?
As customers have evolved to be fully phone-reliant, the
market for mobile apps and mobile sites has increased. These days, having a
website without a mobile equivalent is a foolish move and may lose you sales. A
mobile site should be as functional as your regular site and an app should
function on a similar level.
6) Virtual Reality Is
Growing in Popularity. Are You Ready to Make It Work for You?
IKEA recently launched a new Virtual
Reality feature
, allowing users of the HTC Vive to explore a kitchen
(and throw meatballs into open spaces). Although this particular application is
fairly low-function, virtual reality has revived and is well on its way to
being the big sales tool of 2017 and beyond. Do you have the ability to allow
your customers to use VR to interact with your store in a meaningful way?
Whether it’s navigating a virtual store or trying out new furniture in an
existing space, virtual reality is set to become a staple.
7) Free Delivery: A
New Standard
One thing that stores forget is that yesterday’s exception
becomes today’s norm and tomorrow’s rule. As consumers become more and more
used to convenience, what would have seemed exceptional when online shopping
began ‘ for example, free next-day shipping ‘ becomes expected. Shoppers will
now potentially abandon a sale because of a lack of next-day shipping and will
frequently choose a deal containing free shipping, even if it works out to be
more expensive.
It’s worth remembering that consumers love the word ‘free’.
Whether it’s ‘free shipping’ or ‘buy one get one free’, shoppers will always
gravitate towards those deals.
It’s hard sometimes to keep up with new retail developments.
If you’re concerned about being left behind, remember: what consumers want, and
have always wanted, are high-quality products for prices that are good value.
Although it is beneficial to follow the latest technological trends, providing
value for money is, and always will be, the best way to appeal to your
customers.
About the Author: Phillip
Adcock is the founder and Managing Director of the shopper research agency
Shopping Behaviour Xplained Ltd ‘ an organisation using consumer insight to
explain and predict
retail shopper
behaviour
. SBXL operates
in seventeen countries for hundreds of clients including Mars, Tesco and
B&Q.