Before the In-Store Shopper Moment
Back in the day, the shopper wanted bargains. She wanted value. Convenience. Maybe a little entertainment as she walked the aisles. She didn’t ask for much from retailers; just an easy way to get what she needed at a decent price. So that’s what retailers gave her – a business transaction. And that was fine by all for a few decades.
Then television happened.
Seemingly overnight, a world of new options appeared literally right in front of the shopper’s eyes. Beautiful items being sold by beautiful people paraded across the TV screen. The images were glamorous and aspirational. The ads told stories and promised better lives. Brands had faces and products had personalities.
And the shopper had choices. Many, many choices. Picking the “ideal” product became more complicated. And not just because of the growing number of products to choose from. Things got emotional.
Influenced by TV ads, the shopper now reacted with strong feelings to things she bought – or wanted to buy but couldn’t. That new dishwasher she saw during GE Theater could make her feel things – longing, envy, validation, hope, desire, acceptance. Shopping became more reactionary and emotion-driven, as much about the heart as the head. Which worked for shoppers and retailers for a few more decades.
Then the internet happened.
Information was everywhere. And really easy to get to. Suddenly, any question could be answered. Any destination could be researched. Any product could be bought and reviewed. Internet voices were unfiltered and almost nothing was off limits. It was a democratic space promising power and access; a world where audacity was rewarded and everyone got to share an opinion.
The internet changed the way people played, learned, created and of course, shopped. The very idea of retail evolved seemingly overnight, and the balance of power between the retailer and the shopper began to shift.
Once again she was facing a multitude of options. But this time, the shopper took control. She used the internet to inform and educate herself about brands and products. She bought online. She spoke up – loudly – about what she liked and what she didn’t like. She built forums for reviews and communities to share her discoveries with new friends. She tapped into social media, transforming Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram into brand information Meccas and platforms to celebrate her personal style.
She also stopped waiting for retailers to ask her what she wanted. She used digital media to actively share ideas and desires and advice with brands. By believing she should have an influential voice in the shopping conversation, she created one for herself.