Canvas 8 – Expert Outlook on Retail 2015 with Kate Nightingale

10 December 2014

With the 2015 approaching fast many retailers are wondering what to do to provide even better consumer expereince next year and win more consumers’ hearts.

Canvas 8, a behavioural insight and trend forecasting agency, asked our founder Kate Nightingale a few questions about consumer behaviour and retail landscape in 2015. Here is a full version of Kate’s answers. For the full Canvas 8 report with comments from other experts in the field, go here.

1. How do you think people’s attitudes to shopping will evolve in 2015?

We’ve been seeing for a while bigger independence from consumers. They started demanding better products, better service and more convenient shopping ways and delivery options.

I believe that we will see the power of consumer growing even more. With that power we will see a rise in the demands for more efficient and pleasant service, more personalised searching methods and unique products.

Consumers won’t any more buy products that make them appear to be the same as other people. Individualism will be very important; and not only in products but also in experiences. Consumers will increasingly want to be a part of a special experience created by the brand and increasingly co-created and co-curated by the consumers themselves.

2. What is driving those changes?

I believe that a rise in self-awareness, entrepreneurism and empowerment is partially responsible for those changes.

The popularisation of an increasing amount of scientific content helps consumers to become more self-aware. Thus is turn allows them to better articulate their needs and wants and even be very expressive about it.

The rise of entrepreneurism helped consumers to realise that actually they can get an amazing service and products and not necessarily spend a lot of money. Therefore they have started to demand the same from big retail giants. Some big retailers have managed to implement some changes but many others are still to catch up; hopefully before the next social change.

An increasing amount of media is running stories and creating programs that help people achieve their dreams, be more confident and perform better at work. This empowerment is obviously not only affecting people’s personal and business lives but also their decisions as consumers. They are more confident to buy products that they really like, return purchased items if they’re not happy with them and share their experiences on many available social media channels.

Taking the above and the growing availability of 3D printing, retailers will have to try even harder for consumers to go to them rather than make it themselves.

3. How do you think retailers will respond?

Retailers are slowly trying to catch up with an introduction of personalised web pages (Shop Direct soon), more flexible delivery and returns options, various consumer events, interactive social media campaigns and even a possibility to personalise (Coke bottles) or completely design your own product (Upper Street Shoes).

However, they are far from perfect. The stores are not designed in a way that can deliver a truly unique to the brand and immersive experience with an option of personalised shopping journey (especially the multi-sensory and emotional element of the experience isn’t well thought-through). The marketing and advertising campaigns are not very emotional (except during Christmas), interactive or even shocking. The social media behaviour is usually a monologue with promotional posts rather than a double-sided conversation with a relationship building focus.

I could go on forever like that! Basically, my advice is: be sure who you are as a brand, who are and how different are your consumers, and what type of relationship would you like to have with each of your consumer groups.

4. What are you excited about for 2015? Any brands / trends that you think will be big?

I’m excited to see consumers going to more and more local and smaller businesses for that unique piece of fashion or design.

I’m excited to see the changes in a typical family or friends shopping day out. Will they continue? Will they be shorter, longer? How much more experience aspect they will pack into these trips? And all that will be dependent on what experiences and additional services retailers can deliver to attract these busy consumers.

I’m excited to see more technology in-store and if it will be cleverly implemented together with an amazing multi-sensory and immersive design.

And I’m definitely looking forward to less robot-like customer service. But I think we need more than a year for that.

And last but not least I’m excited to see completely new and innovative retail concepts coming out.