retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Acosta is out with its annual “The Why? Behind The Buy” survey, concluding that the so-called “new normal” in shopper behavior now is standard behavior: “It’s clear the shift in shoppers’ behavior is permanent. Just as economists describe a ‘new normal’ economy, there’s a “new normal” shopper. We call the new normal shopper: Shopper Inc. Whether he or she realizes it, today’s conservative, educated and prepared Shopper Inc. is approaching shopping much like a business approaches financial decisions. Today’s shopper is researching, planning, weighing options, making decisions, and even looking for ROI.”

Among the conclusions reached by the survey:

• “Shoppers have not seen an improvement in their financial situations over the last six months.”

• “Shoppers are prepared. 72% make lists for their routine shopping trips. Major decisions on what to buy have moved from in-store to at home.”

• “85% of shoppers say store circulars influence them and almost half clip coupons from the circulars.”

• “33% of shoppers surveyed go online or use apps to save money.”

• “To save money, shoppers consolidated trips due to rising gas prices, traded down to store brands, traded out of categories, and 54% bought more items on sale.”

• “The primary reason 33% of shoppers go online is to save money. They are using online coupons, retailer and brand websites, and email subscriptions.”

• “The younger shoppers do not pre-plan as much, but they are more likely to use online resources, apps and social media for shopping.”

The big conclusion: While consumers have retrenched because of ongoing economic concerns, they also have more information on which to act on those concerns, and a greater willingness to take a strategic approach to shopping.
KC's View:
Which means, IMHO, that retailers need to take a more strategic approach to selling - catering not just to consumers’ shrinking or stagnant bank accounts, but also to their desire to shop based on values as well as value. Engaging in an ongoing dialog with shoppers - creating a community with them - is part of the investment that the modern and savvy retailers must make in order to be relevant in 2012 and beyond.