It’s no secret that the retail industry is transforming. Technology, elevated retail services, new fulfillment models and unique product offerings are changing the name of the game. And the pace isn’t letting up. That’s good news for retailers and manufacturers who are willing to grow together and experiment with new strategies to drive business. Whether that’s increasing store trips, building shopper baskets, creating loyalty or all three, it’s essential to keep the shopper at the center of it all.
The average shopper takes nearly 60 trips per month, both online and in-store. And as the retail landscape continues to grow more complex, consumers are turning to three specific values to decide where to shop: how much money they’re spending, how much time it takes and what the experience is like. Hershey's Retail Snacking Experience Team (ReSET) has studied this value equation (spend + time + experience = shopping destination decision) and determined that many retailers will find the most opportunity for improvement in one particular area: experience. To help improve those in-store and online experiences, we’ve developed a comprehensive checklist to get retailers started. Here you'll find three building blocks that can help create the kind of experience shoppers seek.
Today, there is no “either or” when it comes to physical and digital stores: it’s a blend. In fact, 87 percent of shoppers start their product searches online. Customers expect their digital and in-store shopping encounters to be seamless. They want to find items on a store’s website as easily as they find them in that store, and vice versa. Our team recommends that category managers and digital managers collaborate by sharing shopper data with one another to ensure consistency across platforms and locations. On shelves and in search boxes, products should be easy to locate so that shoppers can build their baskets quickly and conveniently. Retailers and manufacturers have the opportunity to showcase eye-catching packaging and displays in stores and high-quality images, videos and descriptions online. And at the checkout or pay point—whether it’s self check out, a standard checkout lane, online or in-app—serve shoppers consistent offerings that give them the option to treat themselves.
Shoppers want retailers to think about what they like and need while shopping, and then create experiences around those insights. For a retailer to do that, the key is to collect the right data at the right time, using information from media teams as well as supplier partners, in order to smartly reach the appropriate people and get the most ROI for ad dollars. When creating experiences, retailers can find fun, experiential ways to showcase different products, like building an attention-getting “Cocoa Station” that co-merchandises everything a shopper could need for his or her next night in. To build loyalty and draw in new customers, retailers can offer shoppers a convenient way to write about and share their experiences with others. Reviews, aka user-generated content, double as today’s word-of-mouth, helping retailers build trust.
Shoppers seek retailers that help save them time by delivering personalized recommendations. Research shows that 80 percent of consumers are willing to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience, and 63 percent of consumers are interested in personalized recommendations and willing to share data for those recommendations. By offering shoppers deals based on their previous purchase histories and preferences—and by sharing data with suppliers for a broader understanding of the shopper–retailers can drive more trips to their store. It is important to offer the same assortment of items online and in store to ensure consistency, and build all purchases into the shopper’s history. In addition, by allowing shoppers to create their own digital shelf filled with their favorite items, retailers can make future shopping experiences seamless, convenient and personal.
By putting the shopper at the center of the equation, retailers and manufacturers, alike, will be rewarded with their loyalty. The steps above are enough to get your started in unlocking your full retail potential. For a comprehensive checklist, download the full Hershey’s report, “Creating Value in a Shoppers’ World.”
 Source: Hershey, Month in the Life of a Shopper 2019
 Source: RetailDrive
 Source: Epsilon Research
 Source: Retail Dive RILA, September 2018