Insights from BMi Research, Consumers shop to save
Jul 24th, 08:06
Compiled by BMi Research
A new breed of consumer is challenging the way that retailers package, price and distribute their products, says Gareth Pearson, CEO of BMi Research.
‘Professional shoppers’ unashamedly use all the resources at their fingertips (literally) such as smartphone apps, website, cut-out coupons, QR codes, broad sheets and loyalty cards to find the best value deals and in doing so, they’re asking questions of the retailers, he said.
“Protracted economic pressure and technological advances have been the key drivers behind the rise of this ‘omnichannel’ consumer who is highly motivated to find the best value deals. It’s also become much easier for shoppers to access the myriad money-saving options on offer because they’ve become so much more informed and tech-savvy.
“Retailers have responded by becoming more innovative with their promotional offers, bundling products together for a more attractive package, adding value to their loyalty programmes, offering special deals on delivery, integrating their online and offline shopping experiences and investing more in their private label and home brands to attract consumers,” he said.
Showrooming – where shoppers research items in-store then buy them cheaper online – has been trending for some time but what has changed, is that the ‘professional’ shoppers have branched out from big ticket items like televisions and furniture to everyday products. In the US for example, myGroceryDeals, a free grocery-comparison website in the US, claims that a good shopper can save 20 - 30% off their grocery bill each week– savings that Pearson believes some savvy South African consumers are also achieving by shopping around.
Research from one of BMi Research’s strategic partners, IRI, shows that over 70% of shoppers make a list prior to going to a store and a third of shoppers downloaded coupons from retailers, brands or third party sites. “But whilst digital deals are on the rise, we’re also seeing an increase in the number of shoppers making use of traditional promotional tools such as broadsheets, cut-out coupons and newspapers inserts. People will happily map out a route to buy various items from a number of different retailers in order to get the best deal,” he said.
Rewards programmes also remain a key retail strategy in South Africa, with an estimated 10 million people carrying at least one loyalty card from the 70-plus programmes in operation.
“The retailing landscape is truly dynamic,” Pearson said, “and it’s not always apparent what is driving the change. Is it consumer demand, is it technology or is it the retailers themselves setting the pace? One thing is certain – the new breed of professional shoppers are confidently navigating this changing landscape and using every available opportunity to save money and find value.”
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