6 things you need to know about the new consumer

Who is the modern shopper, and what do they want? That’s the million pound question for many retailers, and a hot topic we discussed at our event, The Rise of the New Consumer, on July 6th.

An esteemed panel of retail experts joined Retail Connections at London’s One Aldwych Hotel to analyse the changing influences on consumer behaviour, from personalisation and technology, to channel and geography.

Here are a few of the essential facts we uncovered during the course of the evening:

#1 – The new consumer doesn’t care about channel – they care about moments

Fickle, demanding, and connected were just three of the words Retail Connections’ Head of Innovation, Chris Field, used to describe the typical consumer today. This complex creature demands great interactions and meaningful moments, and they don’t care how difficult it is for retailers to deliver. Channel doesn’t exist in the eyes of the consumer.

#2 – They hate barriers…

Creating obstacles that make customer journeys anything less than seamless is a big mistake, advised our first speaker, former Chief Customer Officer at House of Fraser, Andy Harding. Andy also discussed the impact that changes in shopper behaviour are having on retail organisations; it’s time to act customer-first, rather than just preaching the message.

#3 – …but love experiences

Both Andy and our second retailer guest, T2’s International Director, Darren Williams, talked extensively about the role of bricks-and-mortar for the modern shopper. No longer can the success of a store be judged on units sold; it must be treated as a brand vehicle, because the new consumer wants to be amazed and entertained, even if they don’t buy something at that moment in time.

#4 – They love British brands, wherever they live

One theme that came through strongly at The Rise of the New Consumer was the opportunity for UK retailers and brands to capitalise on their great global reputation. Alex Mathers, Associate Partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants, shared insights from a recent report that showed the number one reason Chinese shoppers buy online from UK brands is trust in their quality.

#5 – If you can’t capture them in 7 seconds, you’ve lost them

Brand Alley CEO, Rob Feldmann, opened his talk with a stark warning: retailers have seven seconds to capture a customer online, at which point their attention will be diverted elsewhere. Being in the right place, at the right moment, in the right way involves a deep dive data understanding of how each shopper interacts with a brand, with segmentation and personalisation of messaging a must.

#6 – It’s not about product, it’s about lifestyle

Price is not everything anymore; the new consumer values products and suppliers that help them budget, but also manage their time and improve their health, concluded Chris Field. Time is a currency in itself, and therefore retailers have to find ways to make the retail experience more convenient – or at least more worthy of shoppers’ precious moments.

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