The e-commerce revolution upended the predictable activity of going shopping which has traditionally involved taking a trip, planned in advance, to a favourite store.
In lieu of going to a store, people are increasingly purchasing goods and services online and sight unseen. Yet, it’s only recently, a decade or so since the advent of the smartphone, that a fundamental change has truly occurred, according to IBM Institute for Business Value's Meet the 2020 Consumers Driving Change report.
Thanks to mobile technology and social media, consumers have been rewired when it comes to shopping, and it may usher in one of the industry’s biggest shifts in consumer behaviour.
Today’s always-on consumers come highly informed with specific demands for price, ingredients, delivery options, production methods, and much more. And they shop whenever and wherever the mood strikes them, in so-called “micro-moments,” often while doing other tasks. In other words, consumers today shop anywhere, anytime, and increasingly, anyway they want.
Revealing their desires for specific products and attributes that conform with what they consider important or valuable, consumers are currently driven by ‘micro-needs’. Traditionally, the industry produced and carried offerings that varied only slightly from locale to locale, largely based on macro factors such as sales volume, climate, and competition.
In today’s environment, however, it is important to offer items based on specific qualities tailored to meet consumers’ demands, such as products that are certified as organic, fresh, environmentally friendly, parabens-free, and the like.
In a strange paradox, the store is more important than ever, even as its role morphs into something new and consumer shopping continues to shift toward digital touchpoints. For shoppers who crave convenience and immediacy, stores have become critical nodes in the omnichannel supply and fulfilment ecosystem.
Over the past five years, these wide-ranging requirements have radically transformed the retail and brand landscape and businesses must now deliver on omnipresence, agility, and sustainability.
For further insights into consumer-driven change, you can view the full report on IBM’s website.