You can tell a lot about people by reviewing their purchase receipts. Where they shop, what restaurants they favor, where they prefer to buy gas. So, what can you tell by evaluating a huge database of receipts submitted over time by a large population of people? Retail trends.
When researchers from Wharton School of Economics studied generational buying behavior, they determined millennials spend more money with new, high-tech merchants such as Uber, Lyft, Zappos and Zulily. Baby boomers, on the other hand, frequently shop at Costco, Home Depot, Macy’s and QVC.
Millennials do more digital shopping; many boomers still go into stores. Millennials buy more gift cards than other generations, and they prefer buying e-cards because it’s easier and the recipient can’t lose them. Another interesting finding is that while boomers usually just buy gas at convenience stores, millennials actually go in and buy groceries, too. In fact, convenience appears to be a driving force among millennials, who prefer to place their Starbucks drink order via the app so it’s ready when they enter the store.1
Integrating newly created channels for sales, like online service or an app, has been easier for new retailers than older ones. In many cases, despite the fact that a store may have a website where customers can shop online, most of the older brick-and-mortar stores still look the same as they did 20 or 30 years ago.2 That may be comforting to older shoppers, but some younger shoppers find them dated and inconvenient.
Some innovative retailers have also started focusing on what is referred to as “frictionless shopping.” An example of this is the Amazon Dash button, wherein customers can reorder a regular item with the simple push of a button.3
Surprisingly, two new trends on the rise actually have been around a really long time: subscription and TV shopping. Not only can you buy things like magazines and Ginsu knives via these channels, everything from beauty products to groceries to clothes can also be purchased via subscription or 24 hours a day on home shopping television networks.4
Obviously, convenience is a driving theme for today’s shoppers. In response, a designer sunglasses retailer (Warby Parker) sends five pairs of glasses to a customer at once and allows them to send back the pairs they don’t want for free. This in-home convenience has increased their sales exponentially in recent years.5
Overall, online shopping is on the rise. Fifty-one percent of Americans say it’s their preferred way to shop. One survey found that 96 percent of Americans have made an online purchase at some point in their lives, with 80 percent having made one within the past month.6
Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications
1 Knowledge@Wharton. May 31, 2016. “How Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers Shop Differently.” http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/new-tools-answer-age-old-question-of-what-do-customers-want/. Accessed June 10, 2016.
2 Knowledge@Wharton. May 16, 2016. “Omni-channel Is so 2010 – but Retail Still Hasn’t Figured it Out.” http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/omni-channel-2010-retailers-still-struggling-adapt/. Accessed June 10, 2016.
3 VendHQ. May 20, 2016. “Retail trends & predictions: 2016.” https://www.vendhq.com/university/retail-trends-and-predictions-2016. Accessed June 10, 2016.
4 Deloitte. 2016. “Retail Trends 2016: Redefining convenience.” http://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/retail-trends-2016.html. Accessed June 10, 2016.
5 Arram Kang. KPMG. May 2016. “Three key trends transforming the face of retail.” http://www.kpmgtechgrowth.co.uk/trendsinretail/. Accessed June 10, 2016.
6 Tracey Wallace. BigCommerce.com. June 6, 2016. “What Brands Need to Know About Omni-Channel Retail and Modern Consumer Shopping Habits.” https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/omni-channel-retail/. Accessed June 10, 2016.
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