Who is the XTreme Shopper?
- Demographically speaking, anyone!
- Highly motivated, aggressive, and passionate about shopping
- Uses multiple resources and goes to almost any length to seek out the best possible value
- Determines value using factors such as enjoyment, usefulness, simplicity, and assurance
The old notion that price, quality and quantity are the only true purchase drivers may be gone for good, according to a study by GfK Custom Research North America called "Future Buy: Insights and Innovations To Win in the New Era of Shopping." This new era of shopping is being ushered in by a generation of shoppers who are highly motivated, aggressive and passionate. GfK's report, first released in late 2009 and updated throughout 2010 with feedback from brands and retailers, introduces the concept of an "XTreme Shopper" -- one who uses multiple resources and goes to almost any length to seek out the best possible value.
"XTreme Shoppers are in control and they will pound you [the retailer] into submission," says Mike Kassab, senior vice president and director of innovation at GfK. The firm's research showed that XTreme Shoppers can be found across all U.S. geographic regions and income levels. "This is the least amount of demographic definition I've seen in a consumer segment in 20 years," says Kassab.
Alison Chaltas, executive vice president at GfK Interscope, adds that the value equation for XTreme Shoppers goes beyond price and quality to include factors such as enjoyment, usefulness, simplicity and assurance. "XTreme Shoppers want to have fun and enjoy the experience," Chaltas says. "You have to show consumers that you understand their passions, let's say for food. Williams Sonoma does a great job of this at the high end. All of their cooking classes, online resources and in-store marketing are consistent. People really feel they're being treated to something special when they walk into their stores."
GfK used ethnographic research methods to produce its study, conducting shopalongs with 30 individuals to determine the factors that motivated their purchases. The firm then administered a quantitative survey based on those answers to 2,000 U.S. shoppers, developing a list of 15 criteria that drove choices between different brands, retailers and product categories.
Among the key insights in the study:
- Following the recession, a more personalized and mission-driven shopping process emerged in which consumers have more control over buying decisions. More than half of survey respondents (55%) said that "retailers and brands have less influence on my decisions than ever before," while 71% said "I'm learning to shop more efficiently and better than ever before."
- XTreme Shoppers derive more emotional satisfaction from shopping online than in-store. When comparing the two channels, more respondents considered online to be inviting (81% vs. 71% for in-store), uplifting (84% vs. 71%), customized (73% vs. 51%), energizing (74% vs. 48%) and calming (80% vs. 53%).
- Retailer loyalty is on the decline, and loyalty-card programs were often found to be harmful. "XTreme Shoppers don't see the value in these programs," says Chaltas. "They're viewed as too complicated or overly intrusive." Nearly half (48%) of all respondents said that loyalty programs seem like a deal but are really not, and 37% said they resented getting so many different marketing offers and advertising as a result of being in a loyalty program.
- XTreme Shoppers like giving their input to brands and retailers.
"A lot our clients are using the data to inspire or confirm their digital strategies," notes Kassab. "Traditionally, big firms operated in silos when it came to shopper marketing; now many companies are trying to bring synergies to the online and [brick-and-mortar] retail channels."
Chaltas adds that retailers are beginning to deliver those synergies, but they have a ways to go. "Consumers hold retailers to a very high standard. Just look at Apple and what they've been able to do in their stores," she says. "It comes down to going above and beyond expectations."
Published: March 2011
Source: In-Store Marketing Institute/Shopper Marketing