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Meet the New Shopper

3 ways shoppers have changed with technology and why retailers must adapt or die

With technological innovation continuing to evolve, our daily behaviors and habits are changing fast. Case in point? The shopper has completely transformed over the past few years. Below are three key ways the shopper has changed that I am keeping my eye on, as well as what this means for brands and retailers.

Shoppers are more informed than salespeople.
There once was a time when shoppers walked into a store and relied on the retailers to guide them through the journey of making a purchase. Now, with smartphones and the web, most shoppers are doing a significant amount of research prior to shopping, so they can be secure in their purchases. When shoppers walk into a store today, they are more knowledgeable than ever. According to a 2015 survey, around 70% of consumers rely on online reviews before they make a purchase. If retailers wish to stand out in the highly competitive retail world, they must be with the consumer every moment of the decision-making journey, and that begins online.

Shoppers rely on mobile to choose stores.
Shoppers used to select a store or a product based on familiarity or word of mouth. Now, mobile is a crucial part of the decision where to shop. The first thing a consumer does is look to the web—whether that is for store locations, phone numbers, reviews or special offers. Meat Pack, a trendy shoe store in Guatemala, launched an app called Hijack in effort to bring more customers into its store. Hijack could recognize when customers were in a Meat Pack competitor store and would notify them of a special discount they would receive if they shopped at Meat Pack instead. The fun twist to this deal? The discount was time sensitive, which turned the promotion into a game. The faster a consumer could get to Meat Pack, the larger discount he would receive. Meat Pack hijacked more than 600 customers from competitors. Retailers who take to mobile reap the benefits.

Shoppers are less willing to tolerate failure.
Technology has made our lives easier in an endless list of ways. Unfortunately, impatience and intolerance for failure go along with that now expected ease. If there’s a flaw in a shopping quest, shoppers easily get aggravated and can take their complaints to social media platforms or review sites in protest. These complaints will be read by other shoppers, which will influence their decision to shop. Retailers must develop and maintain their online store presence for the unforgiving shopper. Facebook recently introduced Facebook Messenger for Businesses, which allows customers to speak directly with businesses and have their questions or concerns, dealt with immediately. Whether it be using Facebook Messenger, or being active on review sites, retailers must be responsive to online engagement to make every step along the way quick and painless for each shopper.

Have you noticed a new shopping trend, technology or behavior that you think will have significant ramifications for retailers or brands? Share your thoughts—I would love to hear them!

Karuna Rawal is EVP, business lead, with Arc Worldwide, part of the Leo Burnett Group.


The views expressed by the author are hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Leo Burnett Group.