Jewellers and other mainstream retailers will need to put ethics, service and community at the heart of their business models if they wish to appeal to a new breed of shoppers visiting retail destinations over the next decade.
That’s the verdict of an industry report that suggests retailers with premises in shopping malls have an opportunity to prepare for the way in which customer priorities will change by 2025.
The study, commissioned by Hermes Investment Management and AustralianSuper, predicts that in the next seven years shopper behaviour will be dramatically shaped by a sense of community, ethical practices and quality of service.
This new breed of consumer will go shopping in search of communal experiences where the purchasing of products goes hand-in-hand with social interactions to drive loyalty to retail destinations.
Stores will become hubs of activity, with ‘rewards’ such as exclusive products, immersive experiences that enhance brand awareness, or lifestyle services which aim to provide simple solutions for busy modern lifestyles, encouraging participation with a like-minded community.
Many jewellers already understand the importance of reaching out to the different demographics they serve. 75% of Generation Z consumers, for example, already prefer stores that provide a memorable and encouraging offer, with 50% of 20-year-olds searching for enhanced retail experiences from bricks-and-mortar spaces.
Additionally, the report expects future shoppers to place increasing emphasis on a retailer’s ethical behaviour.
Last year, the Edelman Trust Barometer identified that 56% of consumers already regard ethical and open business practices as important in building belief in a brand and according to The Future Shopper report, this belief is set to grow substantially.
Already, consumers are seeking brands whose values reflect their own, exemplified by the annual growth in ethical purchases in the UK, which is now valued at £38 billion, according to The Ethical Consumer Markets report 2016 published by Triodos Bank.
The third predicted trend focuses on service, and the changing way in which it is perceived and valued by consumers.
The report states that shoppers will expect staff to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic collaborators in their purchasing experience.
78% of shoppers regard sales staff with a detailed product knowledge and confidence with in-store technology as key in driving brand loyalty towards a retail destination.
For retail and leisure destinations, this will mean employing emotionally intelligent, highly motivated, well paid ‘brand fans’ – individuals that are knowledgeable about the brands, stores and experiences available in a destination.