If shoppers behaved the exact same way every time they entered a store, retailing would be significantly easier. However, the reality is that consumer needs and the value propositions they seek are constantly shifting, so retail offerings must shift too.
This isn’t an entirely new idea. In fact, a 2004 study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, titled The World According to Shoppers, examined the constantly fluid need states of shoppers. As a simple example, one council member recalled seeing shoppers wait in long lines for gasoline at one of his stores on a day when prices were reduced by a nickel. Incredibly, many of those customers were also drinking relatively expensive coffee in their cars, meaning they willingly splurged on one purchase, while waiting in line to economize on another purchase.
The newest study from the North American Council, Surviving the Brave New World of Food Retailing, examines how need states are shifting today due to increased competition from eCommerce. One of the biggest findings in the report is that the traditional advantage of a great store location is becoming less important at a time when shoppers can complete a shopping trip from their living room sofa.
The latest report challenges retailers to carefully review the value proposition they offer shoppers and to recognize the necessity of continuously refining and evolving that proposition to align with shoppers’ ever-changing needs. That means evaluating everything from layout to pricing strategies to product assortment. While certainly not easy, a willingness to adopt such a fluid approach is becoming increasingly important when today’s shoppers have so many easy choices at their literal fingertips.