25 May 2024, 18:00
By Alan Watson Mar 25, 2014

Should you be doing more to attract your SuperShoppers?

Did you know that a quarter of UK retail spending comes from just 18% of shoppers? These SuperShoppers tend to be 25- to 44-year-old men and women working in professional or managerial roles, says The Daily Mail. In this article, retail technology expert Alan Watson takes a look at the SuperShopper, and discusses the potential impact of attracting and retaining their custom for furniture retailers …

You only need to search online to see numerous stories which discuss the growing interest in the SuperShopper segment of the market. According to reports in the Daily Mail, this segment makes up 18% of the shopping population, but accounts for 70% of total retail spend, which stood at more than £200b last year. 

Let’s look at the SuperShopper in a bit more detail. They tend to be very tech savvy and enjoy the multi-channel shopping experience. They want 24/7 access to enable them to shop wherever and whenever they want and, above all, they want a quick, simple and fuss-free shopping experience.

"The same Daily Mail report revealed that 30% of SuperShoppers browse online before coming in store and take advantage of services like click and collect"

But of particular importance to furniture retailers is the fact that quality, product choice and the customer experience are as important – if not more so – than the price tag. What this means, essentially, is that these elite shoppers are willing to pay a premium in order to get the products and service they want, at a price they feel is reasonable, from a furniture retailer that offers them a hassle-free shopping experience. 

Our references to date may suggest that the SuperShopper is just an elite form of e-shopper, but this is far from the correct. The same Daily Mail report revealed that 30% of SuperShoppers browse online before coming in store and take advantage of services like click and collect.

SuperShoppers clearly enjoy both online and high street shopping. Furniture retailers competing for their attention and their business therefore need to offer something that allows both experiences to be integrated into one. It’s about ensuring that they receive a consistent experience in both the online and offline world.

For furniture retailers, this includes prompt and reliable delivery services, ideally with bookable delivery slots so customers aren’t sitting in all day waiting. A  good choice of items with the ability to see one of each range in store would encourage customers to browse online first, then venture in-store to check quality, colour match and suitability before placing their order. Well-designed websites which are optimised for mobile are also important, to ensure customers can browse and access all the information they need to make a purchase decision. When this involves high-value items, this should also include the ability to speak to a real person should they have any queries.

"It’s about ensuring that they receive a consistent experience in both the online and offline world"

So, we can clearly see how technology play a part in attracting and retaining these customers, but what happens when things go wrong? SuperShoppers are typically cash rich and time poor, so IT downtime is highly dangerous ground! In other retailer sectors, I believe that too many are jumping on the technology bandwagon without understanding the total cost of delivering and maintaining their whizzy new service offerings. As a result, they usually end up experiencing repeated periods of downtime due to inadequate in-store training, poorly supported e-commerce operations, retail hardware and software that isn’t matched to their specific needs, and a lack of appropriate IT service support.

Whilst this isn’t as prevalent in the furniture retail industry, there is increasing pressure for retailers to offer a consistent multichannel experience. From in-store stock and payment terminals through to ongoing communication with customers via delivery updates, online tracking orders and so on, technology still remains a crucial factor in the 21st Century furniture retail offering.

"It isn’t wise to implement new technology or systems simply because your competitors have done so"

So what is the solution? Well, quite simply, the solution is whatever you do, make sure you do it well. The problem is not with introducing new technology, but with ensuring it remains in service and customers aren’t left disappointed when they can’t use it, or it negatively affects their shopping experience. 

Customers are constantly being attracted by the lure of the hassle-free shopping experience, so it is imperative that when they do venture into stores, they have a pleasurable experience when they are there. That’s why it isn’t wise to implement new technology or systems simply because your competitors have done so, but because they serve a real need for your customers and will enhance their shopping experience.

Constantly review your customer journey to ensure you are able to maintain your service levels and reduce the likelihood of a negative customer experience. When you address every business issue by putting the customer experience at the top of the list, that’s when you start to deliver the consistent, joined-up shopping experience that all of your customers, including your SuperShoppers, will thank you for.

Alan Watson has over 30 years' experience in retail IT service support, and is the MD of global IT service specialist Barron McCann.

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