03 / 3 / 2017 by IDW

In today’s fast-paced world, the modern retail consumer looks for speed and convenience foremost in a shopping experience.  While these traits have been studied almost exclusively in the online-shopping realm, where shoppers look for features such as one-click checkout and intelligent product recommendations, examining how the desire for convenience has affected retail shopping has been largely neglected.  In this article, we’ll discuss how the modern-day retail consumer’s desire for a speedy, focused shopping experience has changed their buying habits in retail.  A greater understanding of how buying habits have shifted will allow retailers to tailor their displays and shopping experience to better meet the goals of their customers, providing them a convenient, expedited, and altogether more enjoyable shopping experience.

Modern-Day Consumers: What’s Changed?

Simply put, as our lives have become more fast-paced, so too have our shopping habits become accelerated.  The average modern consumer has little time for leisurely browsing for the products they need.  Rather, they are looking to accomplish their shopping goals in as little time as possible.  Part of the reason for this shift has been changes to shopping patterns created through online retailers.  The vast majority of consumers take part in online shopping, which prioritizes speed and convenience to keep people on a site long enough to complete a purchase.  As consumers have become more accustomed to completing their shopping in a few keystrokes or clicks, their retail shopping patterns have shifted as well.  Added onto this is the fact that nearly every aspect of our daily lives has become condensed and accelerated, with this pace being increased every year with new technological advancements.  Our social and cultural norms further push us to do more in less time.  Workplaces are busier than they were in the past, resulting in more stress placed on productivity with less overall downtime.

Taken together, these forces have resulted in modern consumers that spend less time in a retail environment than ever before.  Consumers spend more time on the go, accomplishing one task and moving onto the next.  Retail shopping is no exception, as consumers more commonly enter a retail environment with a specific shopping goal in mind and look to accomplish that goal as quickly as possible.  Understanding this motivation and what drives it will allow retailers to help their customers meet their shopping goals more efficiently, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and retention.

How to Adapt to the Modern-Day Consumer

The most successful retail environments understand what their customers want and effectively provide that to them.  The modern consumer is looking for a convenient, expedited shopping process.  With this in mind, it is important to tailor your shopping experience to meet the goals of your customers.  One of the most important and cost-effective ways of doing this is though intelligent merchandising.  Curating retail displays that pair complementary items is an excellent method of providing convenience to your consumers while also expediting their shopping process.  Pairing together items such as a light snack, beverage, and more substantial meal option will allow your customers to quickly grab lunch on the go.  Similarly, if your deli counter is busy during lunch hours, placing a retail display in this high traffic area that provides a snack and beverage option will allow your customers to quickly customize their lunch, while also providing convenience for them and greater product exposure for your store.

By understanding the motivations of consumers and tailoring the shopping experience to meet their shopping goals, retailers are able to create an easy and expedited process for their customers. Effective merchandising for the modern-day retail consumer requires understanding their desire for convenience and speed foremost, and tailoring your product placement and choices around that.  It is also important to recognize that just as our lives are accelerating, so too is the pace that our buying habits and trends shift.  Retail displays are an excellent means to flexibly tailor your storefront to meet both modern shopping patterns and display the on-trend products that your consumers are more likely to purchase.  Through effective merchandising and a deeper understanding of customer’s shopping goals, retailers are able to better adapt to their retail displays and shopping experience to capitalize on consumers desire for convenience and speed.