Communications specialist and strategic planner Porter Novelli (a company, not a person) has identified 10 key shopping trends that it encourages retailers and marketers to consider now:
1. Willing to Wait. Consumers want to buy, but in this economy, they are willing to wait until the price is right. Marketers should identify who is waiting to buy which products and what will trigger them to part with their money.
2. Decidedly Undecided. For many consumers, it isn’t that they don’t want to buy. It’s that they don’t know what they want. Implication for marketers: For some consumers, the emotional high that comes from acquiring an item is more enticing than the item itself.
3. Discount Dash. The outlook seems bright for discounters. Thus, non-discounters should compete on value since they cannot compete on price.
4. One for Me. One for Me. The International Council of Shopping Centers discovered that 81 percent of Americans who planned to shop on Black Friday weekend intended to buy something for themselves. The fact is notable because the figure is up from 69 percent last year. If the trend continues, it is good for sales.
5. All in for Next-Gen. Technologies such as computers and music players are facing likely sales declines of 10 percent. But newer products such as Blu-ray players, smartphones and HDTVs are expected to do well. To build sales, marketers should consider bundling the old with the new.
6. Online on Top. More consumers than ever will be shopping online this year, looking to save time and money, avoid crowds and find a better product selection. Retailers that can make online and interactive marketing work smarter and more efficiently will win.
7. Text to Shop. Amazon.com is tapping into texting over the holidays to deliver a Deal of the Day, which recipients can purchase using their phone. Text marketing pioneers should figure out how to use this tool effectively and without annoying customers.
8. Future Tense. Even though Black Friday was better than expected, overall holiday sales will nevertheless be down. Marketing communicators need to work harder and smarter.
9. Just Saying No. The more consumers feel insecure about cash flow, the more they have second thoughts. Retailers and product marketers should become adept at engaging with “second thought” consumers.
10. The Cause Effect. As consumers shift from impulsive frenzy to second-thought hesitation, the notion of supporting a good cause may provide a means to convert second thoughts into buying mode. Incorporating social and/or environmental responsibility into purchases could be the acceptable new version of instant gratification.