The three major retail trends happening across the United States include the aging consumer, the narrowing gender gap, and the changing family, said Anne Marie Luthro during a packed keynote address the second afternoon of the TransWorld SNOW Industry Summit held at Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Luthro is the director of research for Envirosell, a firm that consults with such companies as Adidas, Levi's, Gap, Coke, Trader Joe's, Fred Meyer/Kroger, Starbucks, and The Discovery Channel to understand why shoppers behave the way they do and then how to build a better store for them.
Using an interactive powerpoint presentation that included some hilarious video clips of people shopping, Luthro highlighted how these trends affect they way people shop, and how retailers can adapt to them. With the aging of consumers, older people struggle to see and find products on shelves, and have a hard time reaching products that are either place high or low on store shelves.
As the gender gap narrows and more women are working, they have more money to buy big-ticket items that men usually bought for them, such as diamonds and gold jewelry. At the same time, men are now buying more clothes for themselves than ever before.
At the same time, the family unit is changing and that's affecting the shopping experience as well. More men are going shopping with their children. The family has become much more new-age, there are more single parent families, and many urban downtown centers are seeing a revival, thus forcing retail chains to come up with new, smaller-format stores to fit into the downtown environments.
After discussing the changing trends in the consumer market, Luthero discussed the application of trends and how retailers can work on the customer experience when entering a store. Design of the shop is critical in affecting the shopping occurrence.
Luthero says the three keys to remember when creating a good store include making sure the design, merchandising, and operations work together in the retail outlet; allowing the realities of the store to drive the retail strategy; and that shoppability leads to profitability.
During the question and answer period, Luthero said that hangtags were very important to the sales experience, especially for women who like to have the information about the garment they're looking at.
Another design feature that retailers should remember when setting up a store is to make sure it's merchandised from the back to the front, she pointed out. That way, when a person walks to the back of a store, they'll see more products as they walk back through it, essentially forcing them to shop the store twice.
The TransWorld SNOW Industry Summit had gathered more than 300 executives from snowboard and ski manufacturers, retailers, and resorts to discuss issues facing the group. Produced by TransWorld SNOWboarding, with partners Mountain Sports Media and SIA, the SNOW Industry Summit was held April 1 to April 4, 2004.