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Gift box with light coming out of it.

What Shoppers Want

What are they thinking? What do they want? These ever-elusive questions are the ones marketers and advertisers are asking about shoppers every day. Complete strategies are built around answering these questions in an attempt to meet bottom line objectives, but there’s another motive we should be considering according to WSLStrategic CEO & Chief Shopper Wendy Liebmann. During Liebmann’s presentation with David Plante, Sr. Group Manager – Guest, Consumer & Marketplace Insights at Target Corp. at the Shopper Marketing Summit, the question was posed “Are we making shoppers happy?” To support this line of thinking, Liebmann & Plante presented findings from an extensive consumer study asking shoppers what they want. One shoppers answer summed up the findings: “I want you to build my magic box”. With that answer, the expectation consumers have of retail entities is illuminated and while daunting, Liebmann offered that the possibilities are enormous.

Before unpacking how to build that magic box, Liebmann & Plante laid out the understanding garnered from the study about a shopper’s expectations of their retail stores. Consumers expect:

  • Affordable
  • Faster – think Amazon drones, Dash & Prime
  • Easier – click & collect or drive through pickup options
  • To get items off their list
  • To save a trip – can it be done all at once online?
  • Personalization
  • Customized their way

If these expectations aren’t met, shoppers are more willing to rent, rather than buy what they want or need, eliciting the question from Liebmann “What’s worth owning?” Techcrunch’s Tom Goodwin follows a similar line of thinking when writing about some of the biggest companies in the world:
Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.

To assist retailers in creating this magic box for consumers, Liebmann & Plante offered five thoughts on how shoppers think. By exploring these mindsets, retailers can delve more deeply into true shopper desires.

  1. Shopping is about happiness – This doesn’t always mean big moments of happy. Happiness moments could be as small as finding a close parking spot or achieving a healthy dinner goal for the family.
  2. Shopping is about me – As the selfie generation continues to influence, shoppers want to feel empowered when shopping, confident in their ability to afford their purchases and their sense of worth in what they choose to own. Plante offered a challenge to retailers when thinking about this component through a question: “What can we give our guests rather than what can we get from our guests?” he asked.
  3. My store is many stores – Where a shopper chooses to shop depends on the mood or need that day. A shopper chooses to be a different person in different stores. Retailers must understand those different “ME’s”.
  4. My store must be human – Shoppers are looking for help from sales people, but with less focus on the selling and more focus on the relationship. When shoppers are at a physical store, they expect someone there to help them. Sometimes, this goes as far as a brand bringing people together, as Liebmann & Plante showcased in Chobani’s efforts with a store in NYC.
  5. My store is digital – A store doesn’t end at the walls, but the shopper doesn’t want you to be creepy, they need to trust you to use their information well and provide value in exchange for the information they provide.

When all these mindsets collide, the retailer can truly see more holistically how to build a magic box for shoppers and create happiness. According to Liebmann, this happiness doesn’t always have to be dazzling, sometimes it just has to be efficient.

Why do I work at AWG? “I value the opportunity to work with family businesses. My dad owned his own business for 35 years, so it is what I know and cherish. Plus, I love food, so thinking about it everyday is a huge plus.” -Kate