Emerging Consumer Trends are in Specialty Retailers' Favor
3 consumer behaviors are shifting and independent retailers everywhere are rejoicing.
The marketplace is ever-changing and consumer behavior is shifting in some (pleasantly) surprising ways! Here are some highlights of trends that small businesses should learn about as customers are craving experiences, connection, longevity.
They may forget what you said - but they will never forget how you made them feel. - Carl W. Buehner
1) IRL + Brick & Mortar
What is that?
It means "In Real Life".
Consumers are craving connection and experience--and that happens IRL. Direct to consumer brands are growing and pushing forward with Brick & Mortar locations (Tecovas, Outdoor Voices, Casper) to deepen their customers' experiences and build stronger relationships. There's a lot of value by interacting with your customer physically, IRL, to create a lasting connection that translate to sales.
2) Customer service is real
If you build it they will (probably) come...but will they return?
Coupling thoughtful customer service with your brick & mortar shop is a must do. Consumers are passing by gimmicks and zealous efforts. They're searching for meaning, trust, connection, & acceptance. Every interaction between our environment and our customer is considered customer service. (Maybe the term "customer experience" will replace "customer service" soon.)
Selling an item is exciting, but returning or repairing an item provides us with the opportunity to take care of our customer in a way they feel appreciated. Once they feel appreciated, they'll boost your reputation with 5 star reviews that have a lasting impact.
3) Cut-throat is being replaced by sustainable
Consumers are placing less value on "cheap & fast" and culling companies where cut-throat business practices are active. (Think poor working conditions, harmful chemicals, unfair compensation or partnerships.)
Sustainability is a growing concern for the retail consumer base. Locally sourced/made, environmentally friendly products are gaining in popularity. Manufacturers know more about their impact on the environment than ever before (with tools like the Higg Index) and are looking to improve it. Moral and fair business practices are expected of companies.
Retailers need to be as thoughtful about their customers as their customers are thoughtful about about the products they're purchasing.
If you are a quality, thoughtful, service-oriented retailer, you should be thrilled to hear about these 3 shifts in consumer behavior. Keep up the great work!