The Future of Shopping - Insights From Linda Farha
Expert Panel

The Future of Shopping – Insights From Linda Farha

Aug 27, 2021

Raydiant’s new series, the Future of Shopping, interviews experts and thought leaders with a goal of better understanding what organizations can do to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. 

The following is an interview we recently had with Linda Farha, Founder and Chief Connector, pop-up go.

How has consumer shopping behavior evolved over the past 5 years?

In the past five years, consumer shopping behavior has pivoted in both expected and unexpected ways. With the on-going growth of the internet, consumers’ shopping needs are being met from the comfort of their own homes causing a drastic decrease in in-person shopping. This was further reinforced in the past year as the pandemic created a greater dependency in eCommerce as in-person retail became inaccessible. This shift meant that companies had to re-evaluate and prioritize their online presence and consumer experience. 

What are the top 3 trends shaping the ways consumers shop?

1 – Planning to Buy

 As many consumers become weary of in-person shopping post pandemic, they have become accustomed to researching and planning their purchases ahead of shopping in order to limit time spent in stores. This has led to a similar fall in impulse purchases, ultimately impacting overall sales. 

2 – Demand for Social Change

 Over the past year, discussions surrounding social change have prevailed. With the empowered consumer gaining more confidence in vocalizing their beliefs, there has been a paralleled rise in demand for socially and environmentally responsible brands. As a result, consumers are increasingly looking for companies who use their voice to bring awareness to social and environmental issues that matter.

 3 – The Power of Social Media

 Similar to the growth of eCommerce has been the growth in power held by social media platforms. From influencer recommendations to user trends, social media has the ability to promote and add greater value to products. Ultimately, this influences the way that consumers shop as users seek to mimic influencers and stay current with trends.

What’s the future of shopping?

While consumer trends and behaviors are forever changing, one thing that is certain about the future of shopping is the importance of omnichannel. In retail, omnichannel means providing consumers with shopping through a variety of mediums (websites, in-person, social media, etc.). Although the revenue distribution and popularity of each option will continually change over time, consumers of the future will seek both in-person experiences as well as the convenience of other more accessible options. For digitally native brands, a key way to achieve this is through the use of a pop-up shop. Pop-ups allow brands to try in the in-person format and experiment to find what works for them. They also allow brands to connect with consumers in a more intimate way, building bonds and improving consumer loyalty. Moreover, a key consideration for future retail is the advent of new technologies that will revolutionize the consumer experience.

What are 3 actionable steps an organization can take to prepare for the future?

In order to prepare for the future, there are many key elements that brands should consider. Firstly, if not already, companies need to consider consumer experience in their omnichannel approach. Consumers seek a strong and seamless shopping experience in both online and brick and mortar environments. Both digital native and traditional retailers must be mindful of delivering a great consumer experience across platforms. Secondly, brands need to evaluate their company values and ethics in order to identify corporate social responsibility opportunities. Whether it is the inclusion of sustainable initiatives or the creation of a product that reinforces social change, consumers seek brands that share their values. Lastly, always work to find new ways to improve. Especially with the rise of new technologies that can revolutionize business models, companies must be open to adapting in order to grow. For example, utilizing augmented reality to create virtual changing rooms. This can be achieved through ongoing research, evaluation, and initiative implementation alongside consumer trends and technological innovation.

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