At the 2022 National Retail Federation conference in New York City, it was said that understanding customers and knowing how they want to shop is important. In the discussion, things like “Customer driven”, “customer centered” and “Customer focused” were key. John Furner, President and CEO of Walmart, explains that the customer must be at the center of everything that needs to be done in this industry. However, knowing what customers want is quite difficult, especially in today’s times.
Consumer differences in defining safe shopping
As we are still in the middle of a pandemic, what feels like safe shopping for one consumer may be very different for another. This is why it is important to offer options such as online purchases, in-store pick up, delivery and others. For example, Best Buy plans to continue offering roadside pick-up and delivery options, as well as unlimited virtual shopping options to help customers feel more secure.
Consumers love technology
The pandemic has shown that consumers will quickly adopt new technologies, especially in making their lives easier. Consumers are increasingly saying that they rely on technology for their daily purchases and activities. At a retail conference, a report by global marketing communications agency Wunderman Thompson found that 93 percent of consumers say technology is the future. Then, the report also explains that 76 percent of our daily lives depend on technology, and 81 percent believe that the presence of a digital brand is as important as its presence in stores. For example, brands like Ralph Lauren are embracing the latest technology by marketing their fashions on the metaverse.
Now, omnichannel has grown to cover multiple consumer points, and retailers need to provide a consistent experience across all of them. According to a study by the IBM Institute of Business Values and the National Retail Federation, store presence is still important with 72 percent of consumers relying on stores as their primary source of shopping. But the study concluded that consumers no longer see online and offline as distinct experiences, and they expect everything to be connected at all times.
Consumers want retailers and brands to be driven by goals
Shoppers who choose brands based on how well they align with their values make up the largest segment of global consumers at 44 percent, according to the IBM/NRF study. For example, Best Buy and other companies are now starting to lean toward sustainability and diversity and inclusion.
Consumer concerns about inflation
The retailer ended 2022 with strong sales growth of 14.1 percent during November and December, according to the NRF. Target CEO Brian Cornell said the shopper’s enthusiasm over the holidays gave him tremendous optimism for the future. The NRF also expects spending to remain strong in 2022. But while John Furner of Walmart also expects strong demand to continue, he said rising prices are a major concern for buyers. Walmart plans to address those concerns by leaning on its message of daily low prices, and by finding ways to reduce supply chain costs to keep prices low for consumers.