What Shoppers Want in a Post-Recession World

kathy-juckett-TelescopeKatherine Juckett, CEO of Telescope Casual Furniture, presented a Market keynote address on Sunday outlining the results of an in-depth look at the results of the company’s National Shopper Survey. What are customers thinking as we come out of the recession? Where are they spending – and where aren’t they? What’s important to them when it comes to home furnishings and décor? After surveying 1500 men and women between 18 and 70 years old in a wide range of income brackets and encompassing a range of ethnicities, Telescope created a road map to navigate tough economic times by better understanding shoppers’ mindset.

Here’s what they learned:

  1. It’s a new retail world. Retailers are expanding into sometimes surprising categories and industries to meet emerging demands. The Internet is a major player that should be embraced to not only compete but succeed. It offers bargains, choices and convenience demanded by today’s consumers.
  2. There’s a new, smarter shopper. The crisis might be over, but the change in consumer behavior isn’t going away.  It doesn’t look like the recession is over but that doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom. It does mean consumers have changed how they shop and are comfortable with cutting back on spending, bargain hunting and being more careful with disposable income. More than 50 percent are looking for more coupons and rebates and 42 percent say they are comfortable with a more frugal lifestyle. For most things, 70 percent say low price is the most important factor in a purchase.
  3. When they do spend, what they buy and how they decide has changed. For example, 74 percent will spend on a vacation; 66 percent on entertainment, 57 percent on salon services and 48 percent on home décor. There’s been a shift in values regarding what’s important. More than 50 percent cook at home with family and friends instead of going out to dinner; 28 percent prefer low-cost local family outings; and 25 percent are redoing rooms in the house. A healthy lifestyle and environmental awareness are more top-of-mind than ever.
  4. You can thrive in the new retail environment by doing a few things. You have to embrace your customers’ values whether that’s family, the environment or price. You must continually create excitement to draw people into your store then create a “WOW” experience while they’re there. Use everything from windows to displays to humor to make shopping fun. Once inside, give them a reason to buy more by bundling values, offering interesting impulse items or buy-one-get-one deals. Inspire customers with creative displays and design tips both instore and online. Your website can be a powerful sales tool if it incites customers to shop! Continual interaction with your shoppers builds loyalty that in turn drives sales. Social media outlets are inexpensive, easy ways to develop a relationship with your customers.

It’s no secret that are customers aren’t spending as freely as they did a few years ago. However, those that are shopping usually end up buying. It’s up to you to make your store a preferred destination both online and in person and a place they know they can find interesting products that offer value and quality.

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