So, how does the current state of consumerism affect retailers? “Now that we’re [returning to a] value trend, retailers can take some of the pricing control back,” says Goodfellow. “During the recession, consumers had the upper hand because it was all about price. And, especially in 2008, retailers had way too much inventory, [influencing a] super-high discounting trend. I think that taught consumers to really watch for sales, know their prices and make sure they’re getting a bargain when they buy something.” So, although retailers may still offer discounts today, they can offer a 30% discount over a 60% discount, explains Goodfellow. What’s more they can focus on providing customers with value by training their associates to really get to know their products and educate customers. In other words, they can use nonprice-oriented retailing tactics to win over customers.
Grant comments that in a similar vein manufacturers are also once again leading consumers. This means that instead of simply outputting product based on consumer demand, manufacturers are deciding what trends they want to drive consumers to. This tactic is important for retailers because it shows that consumers are open to ideas. So, this is a time in which retailers could playfully revise their retailing tactics. Such creativity might be key in also meeting consumers’ more demanding intangible expectations, suggests Grant. She emphasizes that retailers should be integrating components of the online shopping experience in-store.
“With all the research they’re doing online, the use of technology in terms of [the intersection of] online and the in-store visual displays and information is becoming increasingly important in driving the sale and engaging consumers,” says Grant. In particular, stores are likely to find success in taking some of what shoppers find appealing online—the efficiency, the product information—and integrating those components into their in-store shopping experience; essentially, liberating them to easily navigate the store themselves, while having personalized attention available to them when they’re looking for it, explains Grant.