What consumers want and is the retail sector delivering it?

What consumers want and is the retail sector delivering it?

We have recently been conducting some research into the macro trends within the industry and one of the most interesting parts of this was to see what the global consumer is looking for in a retail experience. Ultimately it is the job of the retailer to address these trends to create an environment where the consumer wants to visit and enjoy the physical retail space that laid dormant during the Covid 19 pandemic.


The research that we conducted showed that 71% of global consumers are now shopping in store as frequently as they were pre-pandemic with 35–44-year-olds visiting stores more frequently. Almost half of those questioned cited the immediacy of physical retail as being a key driver in their return to stores. But there has been a shift in expectations – the physical store now needs to offer similar levels of digital solutions to those that consumers can find online which can be a considerable challenge for brands that have not fully embraced the digital revolution.


There is also a need for the store to be welcoming and offer an elevated experience for consumers. Knowledgeable staff, the creation of a pleasant atmosphere that stimulates all the senses and personalized experiences are all high on the priority list for today’s consumer. Immersive shopping experiences are growing but brands are becoming increasingly selective about the products that are being displayed to ensure that hero products are being actively promoted to an already bought-in audience.


Sustainability is also growing in importance with ethical considerations peaking for consumers in the 25-34 age bracket. Consumers today are looking for authenticity in the companies they choose to buy from so this needs to be more than a simple sustainability message. Recycling points in store, second-hand offerings, ESG initiatives that demonstrate exactly how a brand is delivering on its commitment to our future are all key here. How this is portrayed in store will vary from brand to brand, but the key is to highlight the measurable efforts that are being made to improve environmental and social impact to help reassure consumers that their selected brand is playing a genuine role in trying to secure the future of our planet and our local communities.


What is clear is that physical retail is on a path of transformation to meet the increasingly sophisticated demands of the global consumer. In many sectors, the days of ‘grab and go’ shopping is a thing of the past and the creation of a shopping experience that increases dwell time and deepens the connection between a brand and its audience is here to stay. Where the world of the physical and the digital collide is where we will see some of the biggest opportunity to excite and delight the consumers of tomorrow.

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