In September, AltaviaLab, Altavia Italia‘s department dedicated to innovation and experimentation unveiled the results of the Italian 2018 Shopper Value Barometer. Let’s take a closer look at this study of 140 brands from the Food, High Tech, Housing, Home Improvement, Clothing, and Cosmetics sectors with Anna Casani, Lab & Marketing Manager at Altavia Italia
This year, the results of the Italian 2018 Shopper Value Barometer were based on 3,000 interviews, shedding light on three main trends: the repositioning of discount shops, the emergence of new allies for the modern customer, and the division of the retail world into three parts: retailers, e-tailers, and Amazon.
1.The transformation of discount shops
This year, discount shops underwent a clear repositioning. Anna Casani informs us that, “Just as in France and Germany, price remains an important criterion, but it’s not the only one. ‘Having a good time’ and ‘Finding what I am looking for’ are expectations that have become more important. We’re seeing changes in how customers move through a store, changes in how integrated communications systems are used…Even the products on offer are changing! Discount shops now offer local and/or organic products and are opening bakeries and butcher counters…”
This repositioning is especially interesting because it reflects the practices of supermarkets, which have not changed much since last year.
How can we explain these changes in the discount sector? “I believe it has to do with new players, like Aldi, entering the Italian discount sector”, says Anna Casani. “It also seems that Italy is following the trend established by other countries, where hard discount shops have already disappeared.”
2.The modern consumer has found some new allies
Over the last few years, we have seen a clear separation between consumers’ tangible and intangible expectations. Price, time, and finding what they are looking for are still at the top of the list, while in-store assistance, respect, interactions, and values fall towards the bottom.
“Our study has shown changes in consumer behaviour,” explains Anna Casani. “In the past, customers expected individual brands to provide them with everything. Today, they have many different tools for meeting their needs. For example, what about a customer who’s going to a friend’s party and wants to know more about the latest make-up trends? Today, she’s more likely to look for inspiration on Instagram or Pinterest, and less likely to use Sephora or L’Oréal’s applications. Also, if she’s looking for reviews from other consumers, she won’t use the brand’s community, but will rather look at blogs and social networks dedicated to the world of cosmetics.”
What is the next challenge that retailers will face? Understanding how to interact with these new influences. “I think that brands will establish partnerships or acquire other business to add to their value,” said Anna Casani. “The way Adidas bought the running assistant app Runtastic to expand into a market where they had little presence is a good example of how these tools can help retailers.”
3.Amazon is becoming more and more autonomous
According to the shopper value index, Amazon is number one across all sectors (supermarkets, clothing, home repair, high tech, cosmetics, home goods, etc.). Whether we’re talking about e-commerce or retail, Amazon is way out in front.
“Amazon has been able to set very high standards for service and quality, with fast deliveries, an easy refund process, a wide array of choices, and the option of asking for assistance,” explained Anna Casani. “Other big actors, like AliExpress, ePrice, and Westwing, have tried to the best of their ability to copy this giant, but they have not been able to match it. There are, however, some companies that are doing well. This is notably the case for Ikea, which has been able to set itself apart in the home goods and décor sector based on the “have a good time” and “assistance” criteria. It is also true of Esselunga, an Italian supermarket chain, which scores as well as Amazon in the “find what I am looking for”, “protection”, “responsibility”, and “modernity” categories.”
This all means that while we used to think about e-commerce vs. retail, we now need to add Amazon as a third independent factor. And a real heavyweight at that.