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The World Retail Congress: Addressing the balance for the Global Consumer

Alex Willcock |

Last week in Paris at the World Retail Congress, there was inevitably a lot of talk about the changing nature of shopping and how consumers are merging the worlds of online and offline shopping. Thankfully there was also recognition that consumer attitudes and behaviors are actually being effective in driving big shifts in the retail landscape.

From my perspective, the balance towards the consumer is a change that is only going to increase. If we think about the way that each and every one of us shop these days, we all welcome stores and services that make things as effortless as possible. But making people’s online life easier and more fluid brings with it some challenges as well. So I was interested to see that MasterCard’s Global Insights team launched the Digital Sharing and Trust Project recently, with some fascinating results.

They have looked at consumers in nine markets to try and learn how consumers felt about sharing information when they go online. One of the findings of the study is that the purpose behind each consumer’s online activity determines what he’s willing to share and how he expects to benefit—why people go online, not where they go online from, or how old they are, determines their persona.

One seemingly radical finding has been that demographics don’t matter, at least not online. This is something that we at VisualDNA have consistently found in all of the psychographic data we have collected and analyzed over the years. Namely that people’s core attitudes, their values if you like, consistently seem to transcend demographic segmentation.

Bringing these and other new layers of understanding to market and making use of them is a key focus now for many online retailers. Predictive Analytics are the new rocket fuel of the conversion funnel where sites can receive information in real-time that predicts what an ‘unknown’ user is likely to want, need, spend and behave. What’s exciting is that we are beginning to see how the balance towards the consumer is beginning to take shape and of course, as their needs are better met, so too will those of the retailer as better experiences invariably lead to more conversions and retentions.

In future, retail sites will be able to ‘mold’ themselves to the contours of the consumer’s personality. And as the sophistication of the predictive analytics grows, retailers will have the ability to offer more value to consumers who come to their sites.

The earlier that retailers can move past traditional segmentation methods like age, gender, and country of origin and instead adopt more complex, psychographic-based segmentations that account for people’s behavior and attitudes, the more they will be able to provide consumers with the kind of personal shopping experience both parties want.

Topics: Big Data, Economic Outlook, Payments Strategy, Retail Trends

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