The 10 rules of the brands to seduce consumers even more

We are convinced that tomorrow's consumers will not experience the dichotomy between online and in-store shopping. They will take the good aspects of e-commerce: easier search, time saving, the fact that they can order 24 hours a day, customer feedback... and local purchasing, whose human and physical dimension will remain essential: contact with a salesperson, the possibility of seeing the details of a product, the immediacy of possession, the scripting of the offer and the customer journey...
Traditional commerce feels threatened by the digital channel. The fear of cannibalisation will persist for a long time, even fifteen years later! Will Internet users buy less in traditional shops because they will be able to shop online? Not so sure... The survey just carried out by the Qualipsy Research Institute for the Siec16 tends to prove the attachment of consumers to traditional commerce, while respecting 10 small rules... of common sense.

À On the occasion of its 13th edition, Siec, the commercial real estate and retail trade fair, exclusively unveiled the results of a study carried out by the Qualipsy Research Institute. The aim of the study was to identify the 10 levers of success for a new retail concept: why one brand rather than another? What are the obstacles and motivations of consumers?
The Qualipsy research institute conducted the survey and interviewed men and women aged between 24 and 60 years old, consumers frequenting hypermarkets, shopping centres on the outskirts and convenience stores in the city centre (Paris and the Paris suburbs). All gave their opinions on 29 store concepts selected by Siec.

Lever 1: The democratized made-to-measure: total product customization

The results of the study show that custom-made products must meet a number of consumer requirements; the latter are all the more sensitive if the offer is financially accessible and fits in with their purchasing itinerary - location in a shopping centre. They also wish to assert their personal identity through differentiation, by being at the cutting edge of innovation. 3D printing services or even customised clothing and apparel services respond to these "imperatives".

Lever 2: Rarity: distinguishing the consumer, valuing him or her

Luxury symbolizes the unattainable. It guarantees the quality and the privileged feeling associated with it. For the consumer, wearing a designer garment in an exceptional way allows him to be comforted in the idea that he is unique by accessing the dream. They want to feel that they are actors of their purchase by looking for the unique object, especially when buying a "gift". The more original and unique the gift is, the more the recipient will be fulfilled and the "giver" will be valued, giving the impression that he has made an effort to please, giving him the pride of offering a sought-after gift.

Lever 3: Use vs. Possession: satisfying a need more than a desire

In an urban and active lifestyle, the consumer is increasingly looking for the useful and practical product or service with a utilitarian perspective: the criticism of the consumer society, to detach oneself from possession at all costs. In the clothing sector, for example, in addition to the notion of extending the life cycle of clothing, it is the destination of the product that is invested. Indeed, during the survey, consumers revealed that they want to access the exceptional for episodic use without being encumbered, by renting rather than buying. Moreover, the decrease in cost vs. purchase and the fact of consuming more responsibly also explain the growth of the rental market. Indeed, this mode of consumption gives a "second life" to clothes and objects.

Lever 4: Humanisation: an increasingly strong attachment to human relations and conviviality

During the survey, respondents shared the importance of a warm welcome and contact with the salesperson. This proves to be even more unifying and bonding when the consumer exchanges directly with the producer, such as a farmer for example. However, the welcome should not be synonymous with oppression because consumers distinguish between a human, friendly relationship and commercial contact with the aim of making a sale. But humanization is also a warm environment where contact can be established.

Lever 5: Specialization: mastering skills and the manufacturing process of a product 

The trend towards single product, available in several recipes, fragrances, flavours and colours, is a promising one, whatever the sector. The specialization of a trade on a type of product induces quality, especially for food and fresh. For the consumer, specialisation is then synonymous with top-of-the-range products; a consistency that gives credibility to the brand. Moreover, the notion of know-how is attractive, especially if it is amplified by the training of salesmen / restaurateurs / shopkeepers. However, the respondents reveal that specialisation should not go against choice and that an unattractive shelf, through the uniformity of colour, refrains from the desire associated with choice.

Lever 6: The principle of playfulness

The choice of products, as well as the way they are staged, provokes more emotional than rational purchases. The "playful" lever is associated with impulse buying, which is not premeditated before entering the point of sale. This can occur when the consumer makes the decision to buy on the basis of a staged article or its sales conditions (price, promotion, appearance, etc.) or when making a "gourmet" purchase, accelerated by a choice of varied flavours and a sparkling environment. Indeed, shops that promote choice play on the lever of pleasure, particularly for sweet consumer products associated with gourmet food. Moreover, pleasure can also be generated by gadget products, which are fun to use.

Lever 7: Design: need for space, combined with modernity

During the survey, consumers verbalised the need to harmonise the shopping environment with a view to pleasure VS constraint. They also expressed the need to evolve in a reassuring, calm, bright and airy environment. Clarity allows them to feel confident in their decision making when making a purchase, and in a shop. The study also reveals the impact of decorative elements: armchairs, sofas, transforming the customer experience into a moment of peace and quiet, and classified and tidy products.

Lever 8: Discovering a universe: an aspirational lever that touches on dreams, travel and, more broadly, the imagination.

The discovery concerns different types of businesses: restaurants, but also shops offering accessories, gifts or games. This lever brings character, a strong identity and coherence to the business, particularly because of the emphasis on a clear theme, fully invested (the atmosphere, the sound and visual universe, the products and even the smells) such as escape. In the restaurant sector, for example, the geographical theme (a country with a strong imaginary scope and associated with culinary discovery) is a way of escaping from the monotony and classic universes of the usual restaurants.

Lever 9: Good conscience: ethical consumption - doing the right thing while consuming

The consumer wants to be treated as an intelligent and responsible subject. This lever reflects a growing thirst for meaning and reference points and an underlying motivation: to tell oneself that one has done the right thing, to awaken/maintain a sense of usefulness. A large proportion of consumers want to be informed about the ethical values of the brand and its commitment to respect for the environment. Solidarity with farmers is one of the most striking examples. These purchases, considered useful and responsible, also represent an ecological gesture - protecting the planet, not wasting it, eliminating packaging, etc. - and are a way to protect the environment.

Lever 10: Back to basics: regionalism and authenticity

The lever of regionalism finds a favourable echo for consumers: a quest for terroir, to find one's roots, to honour one's land of origin. The "made in local" argument is an emotional reference point for consumers. It gives consumers a feeling of security, reassured by the origins, provenance and absence of harmfulness of the products. The survey reveals that consumers are particularly attentive to healthy products: an organic label on hygiene or food products or products cooked on the spot. Authenticity can also be conveyed by know-how as opposed to industrialisation.

In conclusion...

In order to attract consumers, a retail concept must offer psychological and other more factual levers, involving both the concept and its concrete implementation.
Psychological levers: humanization, good conscience, return to basics, appeal to affect, to human or even humanistic motivations by placing the individual and the relational at the centre of the commercial relationship.
- Consumer expectations: a proximity established through exchange with the consumer, an increased interest in "ethical", ecological shops, committed to fighting waste and protecting the planet, and a growing search for a form of authenticity through the guarantee of know-how.
The conceptual levers: rarity, democratized customization, use vs. possession, specialization, translate innovative and original ideas, which allow the consumer to feel different and privileged.
- Consumer expectations: originality of the product, personalization, a business or service that saves time or money.
Commercial levers: playfulness, the discovery of a universe, design, more factual, play on the atmosphere and décor of the place so that the consumer can achieve a pleasant shopping experience.
- Consumer expectations: the emphasis on choice to encourage pleasure, a clear theme encouraging travel and developing an imaginary, modern universe, but above all reassuring through space, calm and conviviality of the place.
(Source: Siec 2016 study)

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