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How Consumers Buy? Are You Mapping Your Retail Strategy To Consumer Purchase Behaviour?

The markets are changing and so is the way consumers behave and make decisions. Marketers must design a shopping experience where they can win head heart and wallets of the consumers

Photo Credit : Reuters


The consumer decision making process has changed especially with respect to how they seek information and make decisions. A decade back, consumers searched online and purchased offline but today they purchase online and search offline. This shift also requires change in 'go to market' strategy for brands.

From shop-room to show-room
Consumers today purchase online as they get the benefit of the price advantage and ease of delivery. When consumers find something of interest at the retail store, they quickly search the same on their phone to check for a better price or to compare with other brands. They couple up the experience of offline 'touch and feel' with benefits of online purchase. So, there is no need to wait in queues for payment or carry heavy bags.

The argument can be that retail stores are paying for retail space and employees but their revenues are declining. Does this mean that retail stores will cease to exist? Perhaps no.. because people still have a need to experience the brands, touch them, feel them, try them and this is truer for apparels, accessories and other lifestyle products.

So, is there a need for catalogue physical stores where consumers can experience the brands and decide the best variant for them…but order/purchase it online. Does it mean that marketers still need to plan both physical and online channel for search and sales? Adjusting channel strategy to the way people decide, i.e. seek information, evaluate and decide can increase the relevance of 'go to market' strategy to evolving consumer decision making behavior.

From mass selling to customized shopping experience
Indian stores rarely cater the retail space to suit consumer's preferences and shopping behavior. For example, men and women greatly differ in their shopping behavior. Men hate shopping experience and prefer to buy what they want without spending too much time at the store. Women on the other hand perceive shopping as an entertainment option and enjoy the experience. From consumer perspective, the customized experience feels deeply personal. For example, men in their 20s to 40s have less time and more money and needs experience where they can get what they want without looking around the store. Marketers hence need to explore online medium for sales to such customers- so that they can take the shop to their homes. Men can choose the product they want with ease at home by trying the options sent and return the rest. Women on the other hand enjoy exploring huge luxurious retail stores. They are impulse buyers and end up buying more than what they had planned. Therefore, they need to be brought into the physical stores.

The markets are changing and so is the way consumers behave and make decisions. Marketers must design a shopping experience where they can win head heart and wallets of the consumers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
consumers shopping marketing opinion

Dr. Ashita Aggarwal

The author is Professor of Marketing Department and Chairperson PG-MPW at SPJIMR (S.P.Jain Institute of Management and Research), Mumbai

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