Investing in the Shopper Experience

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Ben Ball and Ray Jones [PDF]:

Defining "the shopper experience."
The sum total of everything the consumer encounters on the journey from identifying a need to filling it -- this could serve to define "the shopper experience" in the broad sense. But for the purposes of our recent RETAIL:NEXT survey of retail and CPG industry professionals, we concentrated on the elements of that process that surround the fundamentals: product, price and customer service. Within this realm, we saw: store design and ambience; the availability and use of technology, such as digital signage and self-scan; and other elements surrounding the purchase process, such as how Green or socially responsible the retailer is. In short - our survey looked at the shopper experience in terms of the things retailers do to differentiate an otherwise common purchase experience.

The shopper experience is critical to retailer success.
The impact of the Great Recession on consumers' shopping behavior is still with us. And as we noted in the second survey of the RETAIL:NEXT series Fad or Trend, many of those behaviors look to be permanent. So the first question we asked in the Shopper Experience survey was aimed at understanding just how important the "shopper experience" is to overall customer satisfaction. The answer was unequivocal: every respondent group in the survey had the shopper experience either first or second in their ranking of importance to overall customer satisfaction.

So what influences the shopper experience? What has the highest ROI?
To design this survey we polled a sample of the RetailWire BrainTrust to tell us what they believed to be the key contributors to the shopper experience. The twenty-six elements we wound up with fall into two basic groups. The first, aspects of the store environment itself, from the basic store design to what kind of signage and navigational aids are employed. This group further divides along the lines of technology. For example, signage and navigational aids can be either traditional or newer technology-driven iterations, such as digital signage and electronic shelf labels.
The second grouping encompasses things that influence the shopping experience, but are not physically present in the store. Examples would be inventory management systems that drive breadth of assortment, or shopper buying history which can be used to tailor offers to the store's best customers.

...And the winner is?
Of course we could not resist asking the RetailWire community which retailers they believe are doing the best job maximizing the impact of the shopper experience. They selected their three favorite from among 60 candidates. (Can you guess the top three? Results follow...)

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Zellmer published on May 14, 2010 4:12 PM.

Is Our Fashion Also Our Identity? was the previous entry in this blog.

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