There is much talk about changing consumer and shopper behaviour, yet we still think mostly of advertising and the point of sale when it comes to primary destinations of Marketing budgets – at the most this already includes a point of sale online. However, we often ignore the fundamental shift in the underlying equation the customer takes into account when making his purchasing decisions: while a shopping trip formerly was inevitably associated to a fixed impact on one’s time budget plus the corresponding logistics – drive or walk to and back from the store(s) – it has now turned into something completely flexible, where the individual shopper himself can decide how much of his precious time he wants to spend on the purchasing act and whether he wants to go through the hassle of him having to move around rather than the merchandise coming towards him. This is why we use the term SHOPSUMER, a final customer who, thanks to digital technology, is completely flexible in his two finite budgets: time and money. In his 24/7 shopping and consuming mode, he can therefore freely choose what shopping sprees he wants to execute himself and what other needs in his overall shopping basket he can partially or entirely “outsource” to third parties. This has two significant consequences on how companies need to approach their customers:
- SHOPSUMERS become more individual in their buying behaviour: due to different individual preferences towards certain product categories, Shopsumers can no longer be classified according to socio-demographic criteria, because the perception of the impact on his time/money budget ratio varies radically. Example: I love pasta and do not mind scanning and exploring a 20 m aisle of pasta in a hypermarket, but another person with similar income etc. is just looking for a standard pack of maccaroni and therefore feels he is wasting his time in front of that 20 m aisle of pasta. So for physical stores this means that they can only hope for Shopsumers to have a bigger interest in at least one of the categories they carry.
- SHOPSUMERS become better in designing efficient shopping trips: due to a careful consideration of his overall time and money budget, the Shopsumer is increasingly taking transportation time and costs as well as logistical efforts around his shopping trip into account. And that often means pooling of different product categories and services to essentially save time, but it may go so far as to shift some of the routine shopping tasks into an “auto-buying” mode with long-term purchasing agreements between him and a supplier. For many companies this means a complete overhaul of their transaction-focused business, in order to be able to respond to such needs with a more personalised buying interface and the corresponding loyalty programmes.
Understanding that SHOPSUMERS nowadays always have an alternative choice at hand before picking your product or service is vital to re-structure your Marketing investments. There is a whole world of touchpoints waiting for you to attract and engage with the SHOPSUMER in between advertising and the point of sale. Explore it!