Buyers and Shoppers both want to purchase products, but for very different reasons.
Healthy negotiations between retailers and their suppliers are all well and good, but they shouldn’t negatively impact the ability of the retail industry to meet the needs of the millions of shoppers that visit supermarkets every day.
Currently, retailer buyers and the brands that supply them are locked in an ever more artificial war. Stores want to find new revenue streams from the brands while brands are trying to find ways to retain margin from sales.
While this numbers game continues, reality takes a back seat and decimal points are the winning factor. During all this back and forth, one vital aspect in being overlooked – The in-store needs of the customers – those who are responsible for the salaries of supermarket executives, brand account managers and everyone else connected with grocery retail!
Take a look at the typical 21st century supermarket and ask yourself how well they meet the needs of shoppers. Yes, they can be efficient, stock laden warehouses. Yes, they may allow for cost effective seasonal flexing and changes to the layout and yes, they may shout ‘special offer’ from every angle. But are these things what shoppers really want? Are they truly what will drive shopper engagement, loyalty and spend?
Let’s consider the following 3 examples:
Firstly, the typical store has around 50,000 products for shoppers to choose from: do we really need that many? Do shoppers really desire a choice of 300 different cheeses? Do any of us really need a selection of more than 100 coffee products and a further excessive number of different pizzas? Is part of the rise in discounter chains due to the fact that they have a smaller, more mentally manageable range?
Secondly, when shoppers are looking to buy special, luxury items like a bottle of champagne do they want the exact same shopping experience as when buying a bottle of bleach? Of course not! But that’s what they currently get. Should the summer dresses be in the same retail environment as the potatoes? No: But they are!
Finally, what about special offers? Assuming 20% of products are on some form of deal at any point in time then your average shopper has to withstand the onslaught of 10,000 offers. If each shopper spends 40 minutes doing their weekly big shop and passes by just half of the products in-store, then they’ll be exposed to 5,000 offers: That’s more than 2 every second and that’s more than any person can take in!
Modern retailing isn’t a partnership between shopper and retailer, nor is it an agreement between retailer and supplier – it is a 3-way relationship. Retailers need to stop treating their spaces as simply a housing unit for the product brought in by their buyers and begin to focus more on the emotional needs of their shoppers instead.