The results of the latest annual Baromètre de la Valeur Shopper® [Shopper Value Survey] brought to light new customer expectations, which largely exceed the long-standing “traditional pact” in the retail sector. In 2019, ‘Find what I am looking for’ was the top criterion when it comes to choosing a brand, ahead of price.
The traditional retail pact no longer fits the bill
The days when the priority criteria for customers with regard to brands were ‘the lowest price’, ‘save time’ and ‘range of choice’ are over. In the new pact, ‘Find what I am looking for’ takes first place in the ranking of expectations (55.1% for food) ahead of ‘save money’ (53%) and ‘save time’ (46%). The only sector where price is still in first place is the clothing sector.
“Soon we will no longer talk about ‘omni-channel’, it won’t mean anything. 20 years after the start of the digital tsunami, retail has once again become a whole in itself, which customers expect to be accessible and responsible. Digital technology has in fact made retail more human in that it is ‘adapted’ to a greater extend to new expectations among customers who demand a sincere and honest relationship ‘when, where and how they want’. Thus unified, retail has adapted to this new dimension of augmented customer who are seeking meaning.” explained Jean-Marc Megnin, General Manager of Altavia Shoppermind.
‘Find what I am looking for’: the top criteria when choosing a brand
The positioning of ‘Find what I am looking for’ as the most important criteria highlights the fact that nowadays, the digital transformation and e-commerce had reduced all customer tolerance regarding stock shortages, for example, and ‘imposed’ choices, for example an excess of private label brands. More than an irritation, this flaw in the system has become infuriating.
Accessibility at the heart of new retail
This top criterion in the choice of a brand also demonstrates the importance of this new relationship with time. Customers are looking above all for an accessible store, that offers Click and Collect services or efficient delivery. Not to mention drive-to-store services. The long-standing leading brand in the food retail industry in the 2019 Baromètre de la Valeur Shopper® is Leclerc drive (40%) which came in 4th position ahead of the Leclerc centres, the consortium’s hypermarket format (34%). According to Jean-Marc Mégnin’s analysis, “customers are now well aware that time spent walking up and down store aisles means wasting precious minutes and also exposes them to more temptation and therefore more spending”. “As those who are used to consuming (at 70%) already know, they expect to find the products they want as quickly as possible”.
The price criterion is still important, but not enough
The notion of low price has become a prerequisite but is no longer the top criterion in the choice of brands for 55% of French people (except when it comes to clothing).
The results of the survey demonstrate customers’ desire to take advantage of reasonable prices and that saving money is subconsciously perceived as a right. Consumers expect to benefit from good deals via, for example, store cards, and if they are willing to pay more, it is because they have made that decision by going to a brand where they know what to expect. If we look closer at what these customers mean by “this brand helps me save money’, “low price” comes in 3rd place (24.7) behind “good quality/price ratio” (27.8) and “offers interesting promotions” (25).
The new retail pact
“For the first time, the gap between the top 3 ‘long-standing’ criteria and the others has narrowed”, notes Jean-Marc Mégnin. The new retail pact is no longer about satisfying these 3 priorities – which are vital but not sufficient. Depending on the sector, some items like information, the “right time”, safety, and responsibility, are very often cited.”
Biocoop was France’s favourite brand in 2019 and thus perfectly embodies this decline in the weight of the price criterion and the increasing importance of values and responsibility.
The 4 mono-channel scenarios
After 20 years of power struggle between online and offline, between pure players and brick and mortar, the omni-channel approach is no longer relevant. 4 patterns for an ‘augmented’ client have emerged:
- Going to a store and taking home their purchases: traditional;
- Going to a store and having their purchases delivered: a habit that is re-emerging from traditional local retail;
- Buying online and having their purchases delivered: the revolution of the ‘web’ years;
- Buying online and collecting their purchases in store: the hybrid service that combines the benefits of both worlds.
In three scenarios out of four, the store remains omni-present, which confirms that it remains central to the purchasing process – subject to the transformation of the brand.
“Retailers that do not offer these four scenarios are not fulfilling the pact with regard to priority customer expectations” warns Jean-Marc Mégnin.
Giving the choice between these four scenarios means allowing the customer to find what they are looking for easier and more quickly and helping them save time. Thus increasing store accessibility. Exactly what they expect.
The Baromètre de la Valeur Shopper
7 years ago, Shoppermind, the Altavia Group’s retail trends observatory, launched the largest survey focused entirely on retail customers: the Baromètre de la Valeur Shopper [Shopper Value Survey]. Its aim? To measure the link that binds customers to their brand. Every year, more than 5,000 customers using 150 brands – 7 different sectors – are surveyed on the basis of ten fundamental expectations that comprise Shopper Value: price, time, information, protection, respect, etc. In partnership with Opinion Way.