There are a few key observations that many have noticed about consumers in this new economy:
- Shoppers are less impulsive, more needs-based
Some say the recession made a correction in consumer behavior especially in the U.S. The means simply aren’t there for as much shopping on impulse. Those adjusting to changing consumer behavior are advised to in turn adjust their merchandise mix and price points accordingly.
- Shoppers are far less loyal and more likely to shop around
Loyalty is a huge key in retaining customers for marketers. So what’s the key to gain these customers back? You must be willing to give the consumers what they demand, and that’s making your product more about price if you can. Accessing data that will help maximize the sale and margin performance of merchandise is huge right now. Some ways to do this include price, markdown, size and promotion optimization, along with demand forecasting. It’s also a smart idea to adapt to shoppers using the internet and their phones more. It won’t hurt to have a mobile and social media marketing plan.
- "Aspirational" shoppers have come to their senses and are living within their means.
An aspirational shopper is simply someone who spends more than he should based on income on specific brands. Shoppers who are living within their means prefer to shop at cheaper, lower level retailers. For the retailers, it’s all about keeping those customers that have dropped down to your level or getting back those customers that have dropped once customers start becoming more aspirational again. For example, a high end retailer might lure in newly price-conscious consumers by coming out with a merchandise line with a more agreeable price tag. This may also be the perfect opportunity to add your own private label brands to your shelf. This gives you more merchandise control, better time to market, and significantly better margins than name-brand merchandise.
It isn’t all bad news in the world today for retailers. The market for consumers is growing, especially in China and other developing and BRIC countries. It’s only a matter of time before China starts becoming more of a consuming economy. Many industries are interested in showrooms and tradeshows that are occurring now in China. Even with the increase demand, keeping those points above in mind is a great way to be a top-notch retailer.