The Customer is Becoming Bored

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The Customer is Becoming Bored

This was the title to a presentation I made to the International Council of Shopping Centres Conference at their 2011 conference in Istanbul, Turkey this April. When you look at the initial research on shopping centres and shopping you may believe customer boredom is not the case. In Turkey in 2001 there were 53 shopping centres, now there are over 250 centres with more on the way [Ref Tuik Gyoder]. In India there is a new shopping centre being opened every two weeks and in the UK the expenditure per square metre in Euro by consumers per year is 7,625 [Re Gyoder]. Having said that, pick up a recent edition of a UK newspaper and you see headlines such as “Many High Streets are Doomed to Die.” At the same time online shopping on mobile phones is growing with the average Brit spending £30 a year on mobile shopping via their phone. Something is definitely going on and it is changing all aspects of retailing. Recent research reveals that consumers are more disappointed with their shopping experience than in the past, a drop of 15% in customer expectations in the last year alone. Customers are saying they are getting bored with their shopping experiences and are looking for a new retail adventure. Many retailers will agree that the main challenges in 2011 and beyond are: 1. Marketing and integrating social media marketing into their present marketing campaigns. This is a topic that we discussed on our Members Club in March (www.johnstanley.com.au) 2. Customer service and how to improve the standards in shops to exceed the customer expectations. 3. How to become an integral part of the relevant consumer communities that are developing. Everyone in retailing has to connect with the consumer and create something unique in the consumers eyes if they are to build customer loyalty. A visit to Turkey and a visit around retailers in Istanbul reveals how the positive retailers are building on the opportunities. I was in Istanbul for the annual “Shoppingfest”, a promotion aimed at getting locals and tourists to buy more in local shops. Some retailers grasped the opportunity whilst others looked on it as another opportunity to have a sale and could not think past the discount sale mentality. Alas, many retailers have trained their consumers to only spend when a sale is on and as a result any sale promotion quickly loses momentum. Some retailers grasped the opportunity and introduced unique retail concepts that entertained the consumer. 40 Experiences This was a promotion developed by the Forum Istanbul, Europe’s largest shopping centre. During the festival they offered customers “40 experiences”. For a consumer to achieve their selected experience they had to shop at the Forum, the experiences included dune buggy driving, swimming with sharks, scuba diving and learning to fly a plane. Customers gained points in the shopping centre at participating retailers and then applied for the experience when they had enough points. This is a wonderful way of building experience retailing for consumers and allows retailers to get involved. Some retailers grasped the theatrical opportunity to enliven their displays and merchandising to create awareness and interest with the experience and they really did create a point of difference. The same shopping centre has the only “Magic Ice” retail experience outside Norway. The owners of the famous ice hotel in Norway have developed an ice experience in the centre. The visitor puts on a snow cape and then walked through ice artworks, attended an ice sculpture school and visited the retail shop, another real unique experience that drew a crowd. At the Kanyon Shopping Centre they partnered with Virgin radio to develop their own radio station. This allowed retailers to promote their products between music that had been selected by consumers. This created an opportunity for both retailers and consumers to engage in the Kanyon brand. According to Katherine Heiberg of Reteam, Denmark, the future trends that are important in all retail situations if retailers are to stop consumers getting bored with their retail offer is to: 1. Be aware that in urban communities the retail destination is a “third place” in consumers lives and is therefore becoming more important as a public space as well as a retail space. We need to consider this when we are designing store layouts in the future. 2. Phone shopping will be an integral part of retailing in the future and all retailers need to be gearing up to having this as part of their retail mix. 3. New communities are being developed all the time, some of these will be relevant to what you sell and you need to be part of that community. The consumers will start these communities rather than the retailer. 4. There is an age shift in many communities and we need to be aware that the Gen Y community will soon be the major customer focus for many retailers. At the same time we have to address the needs of other age profiles as well. 5. In the past many architects built retail temples. They designed experiences for the consumer, often the consumer quickly got bored with the experience offer. In the future the aim must be to design the space where consumers can create their own experiences. By doing this the consumer will not get bored and will keep returning to the same space. We are seeing a major shift in all aspects of retailing and it is consumer led. If we do not try to keep up with the consumer they will get bored and shop somewhere else. That is the challenge the consumer is presenting to every retailer and that will make retailing fun in the new market place. John Stanley is a retail business coach, speaker and author. He has authored several successful marketing and retail books, produces a monthly internet TV program Retail Globe Report on retail trends as well as monthly e-training for his Club Members on his website. As a CSP John is considered one of the top ten percent of speakers in the world. John Stanley helps retailers: Increase sales per square metre, increase the average sale per customer, better manage stock, merchandise and display to maximise potential, market more effectively to convert lookers into buyers. Visit www.johnstanley.com.au to join his Members Club or for information on how he can help you grow your business or email linda@johnstanley.com.au