‘Good value for money’ is a phrase regularly uttered by shoppers of all types. With the cost of essentials such as utilities and food rising faster than the average wage, it continues to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
According to 2,000 shoppers recently questioned by Groupon, three quarters of us are eagerly scouring stores for discounts and promotions whilst we’re out shopping with over half stating than an escalation of promotional intensity would see them using their high street on a more frequent basis.
These admissions, against the backdrop of permanently discounted retailers like Aldi and Poundland revealing barnstorming results, make it too easy to equate the concept of ‘value’ with low prices or promotions. This mistake is only amplified in the haste to compete effectively against pure-play online retailers over the festive season. Many of those with a high street presence have fallen prey to gearing their Christmas strategy entirely around the assumption that shoppers are exclusively looking for the cheapest option and that this will secure their spend.
I believe that giving real value means finding an appropriate combination of price, quality and service. A good example here would be the fact that both Aldi and Waitrose are winning market share in the grocery sector, despite having a wildly different approach to pricing. It’s essential to remember, therefore, that retailers can still win despite an absence of buying power and low prices, by really enhancing the levels of quality and service they can offer shoppers. Shoppers will happily overlook a pricing disadvantage if the shopping experience is superlative in other aspects. So what can be done in-store over December and January to nullify the low prices and (theoretical) convenience of online retailers?
A return to old-fashioned high street values is key, with Groupon’s research indicating 46% of shoppers want stores to know who they are and what they want, as well as online retailers building physical stores so they can touch and see what they want to buy alongside real human interaction. Of course technology has a role to play in creating a tailored and personalised in-store experience. By offering services that minimise the time and angst expended by Christmas shoppers on their path to purchase, retailers will be better equipped to minimise the threat from ‘showrooming’ this festive season and offer real value for money.
Bryan Roberts, Head of Retail Insights, Kantar Retail