I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Value-driven shoppers are changing the face of retail. That may not be news, but their impact on consumer-centricity is.
Consumer-centricity is getting a “face-lift”—one that is based on consumers’ current shopping data and the new technologies they use to make purchases. By tapping into both, retailers can re-shape the shopping experience and entice shoppers back into stores.
It’s no wonder shoppers are gun-shy—they just can’t escape bad news. And it runs the gamut.
Recent victims of the economy include specialty retailer Fortunoff Holdings which is well entrenched in liquidation sales, and 1-800-
Meanwhile, consumers have been jolted by New York City-based American International Group’s staggering quarterly loss of $62 billion. One of the largest losses in corporate history, it made the weak economy even more fragile.
The retail industry continues to struggle within this volatile marketplace. And due to declining customer traffic, many chains are failing to localize shopping experiences. Before the economy hit a tailspin, many chains were trying to segment shopping experiences with targeted assortments, prices and discounts.
While these are still important, value-driven shoppers want the total package: clean stores, customer-facing technology and localized assortments at a good price. But simply relying on historical data that fueled consumer-centric strategies in the past won’t support today’s fickle shopper.
To survive and emerge stronger at the end of this economic cycle, retailers should augment consumer-centric strategies with data-centricity.
Analyzing consumer-shopping patterns that evolved in the last nine to 12 months is a start, but data centricity goes further. When value-based consumers do go shopping, many more are relying on electronic tools, from the Internet to a variety of handhelds, to make purchase decisions and conduct transactions.
In addition, they are also openly sharing their retail experiences on blogs, social-networking sites, videos and discussion boards. Now it is up to retailers to embrace these tools. They must analyze all available information streams to create a tailored shopping experience and reconnect with recession-influenced shoppers. This is data centricity.
While the concept is still new to many companies, make no mistake: Data-centricity will strengthen traditional consumer-centric strategies. Data centricity provides chains with a look into their consumers’ thoughts, preferences and shopping tools. And each can help retailers revamp the shopping experience.
It’s time to dust off those databases and let the analysis begin. Start by uncovering what tools consumers are using, what they are saying about you, what payment options they are using and what they expect from their favorite chains going forward.
The name of the game is survival. By focusing on data-centric strategies, consumer-centricity will take on a new meaning—and breathe new life into our struggling industry.