Our latest Prosumer study finds that as much as people love the convenience of online shopping, they also want to feel good about what and from whom they buy.
The world of retail is practically unrecognizable from just a few years ago. How we shop has changed, and so has where we shop. Amazon and Alibaba have not been part of the retail picture for long—and yet more than a quarter of Prosumers and millennials say they’d be fine if those were the only two retailers to survive!
Those “logistics brands” may have won the battle of functionality, but the war is not over. Rival retailers can compete via qualities every bit as vital as convenience and speed: values and meaningfulness.
Our newest Prosumer study—drawing on a survey of 15,903 women and men in 37 countries—found that as much as people love the convenience of online shopping, they also want to feel good about what and from whom they buy. They want to experience the sense of community and connectedness that is all too rare in our digitally mediated world. Shopping used to be a key component of that. To paraphrase Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier, “Amazon solved buying, but it killed shopping in the process.”
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, new questions will arise as the world rebounds. Although this study was conducted prior to the crisis, its findings will enable us to navigate the many global challenges retailers will face as we move forward into the future.
- Consumers are conflicted: Shopping is a lot more complicated—and fraught— than it used to be. People are torn between values and value. While more than half of Prosumers say that in the future they’ll refuse to buy products from retailers that don’t share their values, nearly as many admit that, when it comes to shopping, price will always be more important than their personal convictions. And while we know from our 2017 study that 71% of Prosumers believe the best way to save the planet is to consume less, 66% say that buying new things makes them happy. Retailers need to navigate these emotional labyrinths with care.
- Retailers must infuse values all along the product line: Prosumers want to consume better and more mindfully, and they expect their retail partners to make that easier for them by selling products that are good for the planet (94%), banning items that are bad for one’s health (88%), and guaranteeing fair prices for suppliers and producers (71%).
- The retail fundamentals are getting an upgrade: The imperatives of product, place, promotion, and price (4Ps) are as strong as ever, but now they’ve been joined by four additional essentials: culture, community, connoisseurship, and convergence (4Cs). Rather than being just purveyors of goods, stores need to be places where people can gather for meaningful experiences and interactions.
- Even global retailers must be locally grounded: As retailers grow bigger, few manage to maintain deep local connections. The new consumers are demanding change; they’re looking for retailers to play a more significant role in their communities. And more than half of Prosumers say one of the things they expect most from retailers is to highlight local products.
Ambient shopping is just around the corner: People increasingly expect the convenience of online shopping to be available offline, as well. We found that 75% of Prosumers would like to be able to immediately purchase with their smartphones anything they see nearby.
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