Amid the challenges of 2015 retailers must remember that price isn’t everything in order to keep the fun in the shopping experience.
I’m often asked if size is important. It is, but only because I’m interested in consumer and retail trends and what’s going to be big this year.
Such is the dominance of grocery retail in terms of share of consumer spending that grocers’ business strategies will continue to set the mood of our retail nation.
I fear that those who only focus on price will lead us on an unedifying race to the bottom as they suck all the fun out of shopping. Receiving a piece of paper proclaiming that your £100 Tesco shop was 10p cheaper is akin to the emails you get from the National Lottery telling you that you’re a winner. Of course you’ve invariably only won £2.80 from a ticket that probably cost you a tenner. Both are disappointing.
Intermarché’s ‘Inglorious Fruit and Vegetables’ initiative in France last year – a campaign Jamie Oliver and friends are trying to replicate in Asda with its ‘Beautiful on the Inside’ range – was uplifting, innovative and delivered value to both consumer and retailer.
Another growing trend will be the cheap pick-up: free delivery and easy collection. Google, Amazon and Uber Taxis will fight it out to deliver products at ever-decreasing intervals but for me, free click-and-collect when it’s convenient beats timed deliveries all day long.
The question is whether delivery is still a point of difference among retailers. Are consumer expectations now so high that next-day and free are becoming the basic service we all must offer?
Trusted experts and personalisation will fight back against the democracy of amateur opinion. If you haven’t grown tired of Trip Advisor-style product and service reviews, you will.
Driving this will be a combination of big data and people with good taste who know what you’ll like.
On the back of that expect to see the subscription model dominate your growth agendas, if not your customers’ share of spend.
This year will see the continued rise of the selfie, coupled with unusual and I daresay sometimes unsavoury uses of selfie sticks. Already banned by some sports stadiums, expect to see one mentioned in a court case near you in 2015.
Our challenge as retailers is to find a fun way to integrate their use into our store experience.
On the subject of things banned or those that should be, 2015 will see more MAMILs – middle-aged men in Lycra – as they abandon golf in favour of cycling. If there’s an upside, it’s that the advent of more men on bikes has prompted Jaguar to introduce bike recognition sensors into its cars. Running over your customers has never been good for business.
The race to the bottom; cheap pick-ups; the sub model dominating; men searching for the ride of their lives; and everyone doing selfies – sounds like the perfect time for the second coming of another consumer phenomenon we’ll see trending again soon: 50 Shades of Grey.
- Jacqueline Gold is chief executive of Ann Summers