Communications, the evolving consumer, and the new definition of retail

by | Sep 17, 2018 | Public Relations

In order to capitalize on the moments that matter to consumers in the era of ubiquitous shopping, new research finds that retailers must be prepared to rethink what they do, become trusted advisors for their customers and curate truly meaningful consumer experiences.

The new survey from Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) of 3,000 consumers, as well as 100 retail industry decision-makers, finds that the desire for a personalized, immersive and seamless shopping experience is reaching new heights.

“The data is clear,” said Adam Siegel, SVP of innovation, research and sustainability at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, in a news release. “Whether it’s in-store, on-the-go or from the comfort of their couch, consumers are expecting more from retail brands. Retailers must continue to innovate, personalize and enhance the in-store and online shopping experience to meet consumers wants and needs.”

Communications, the evolving consumer, and the new definition of retail

The research shows that retailers understand the scale of the disruption facing their business with a vast majority (94 percent) of retail executives believing ubiquitous shopping represents a complete transformation or significant change for the industry. And a similar proportion (93 percent) foresee the same degree of disruption for their own businesses.

Highlights of the research include:

  • A strong and growing consumer desire for personalized expertise. There was a significant rise in interest among all consumers for personalized design ideas, recipes, service suggestions and other recommendations, both in-store and online.

Communications, the evolving consumer, and the new definition of retail

  • Consumers are willing to share their data in return for something they value. The survey shows consumers are most interested in exchanging their data for automatic credits for coupons and loyalty points (64 percent), access to exclusive deals (60 percent), the ability to gain points and rewards (56 percent), and special offers for items that interest them (53 percent).
  • While two-thirds (65 percent) of industry executives view online commerce as the driving characteristic of ubiquitous shopping, and over half (53 percent) cite mobile purchases as key, a third (33 percent) say new technology like voice commerce is top of mind.
  • 84 percent of retailers see image commerce—i.e. the process of taking a picture, then using technology to identify and purchase the product—as important to success, and most consumers would shift at least half their purchases to retailers offering the experience. 56 percent of consumers are interested in image commerce with 63 percent of consumers saying they would consider shifting at least half of their purchases to retailers offering it.
  • The research shows immersive technology is of interest to consumers, especially in the area of design. 56 percent of home décor and electronics consumers are already using immersive technology—or cannot wait to do so. 63 percent of retailers think the technology is very important but 37 percent of executives said they are investing heavily.
  • Blockchain, is still in the early stages for retailers with two-thirds not ranking it among their top five impactful technologies suggesting its potential to enable new customer experiences and disrupt commerce has yet to be harnessed.

Communications, the evolving consumer, and the new definition of retail

“The very nature of how retailers operate has completely transformed,” said Karen Voelker, global lead of Accenture’s Customer Innovation Network (ACIN), in the release. “Savvy brands are catching on—collecting, updating and consolidating data from a range of customer channels, giving them the ability to see consumer preferences, motivations, relationships, and passions that drive them.”

To achieve this, new business models should be centered around specific user needs and shopping styles. Product teams should be leveraging data-driven creativity to better understand the audiences they are actually designing for—and marketing promotions should be grounded in granular insights about the profitability of individual products and customers.

Read the full report here.

Communications, the evolving consumer, and the new definition of retail

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter