Shopper Marketing - June 2017 - 18
Liebmann: We Must Rethink
Retail For a New Shopper
By Nidhi Madhavan
new York - Retailers seeking to survive in an
evolving landscape must better understand
and cater to a new breed of shoppers. "The
American shopper ... has changed so dramatically in even just the past six months,"
Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer and
chief shopper of WSL Strategic Retail, said in
March during a general session at the Shopper
Marketing Summit. "We really need to rethink
the way we do our business today."
Pointing to the dire state of once-prosperous retailers such as Macy's and Kohl's and lagging sales at even successful merchants like
Target, Liebmann stressed the urgency of understanding and responding to these changes
in shopper behavior.
Although there are now more places to buy
than ever before, brands have fewer places
to sell, with the average number of channels
that shoppers utilize in a three-month period
dropping for the first time since 2010. "[The
shopper] is starting to pull back because she's
choosing different ways to shop," Liebmann
Drawing on the latest "How America Shops"
report and other WSL research, Liebmann described how the modern shopper, or "shopping goddess," is now more knowledgeable,
demanding and self-centered. She makes
more frequent trips outside traditional channels, opting instead for smaller, local and dis18
y SHOPPER MARKETING JUNE 2017
count places, as well as digital offerings such
as click-and-collect and subscription services
like Blue Apron or Stitch Fix. "She's shopping
in places that most of us aren't looking at or
tracking," Liebmann said.
She also makes faster trips when she is in
stores, thanks to rising pre-shopping habits
such as online research that allow her to make
decisions before entering a store and spend
less time browsing. According to WSL, one in
three Americans and one in two Millennials
pre-shop. "The notion of the time spent in the
store - the time she can connect at the aisle
or checkout - has changed," Liebmann said.
"Either she's not there or she's got all her information before she gets there. It's not just tying
into the digital proposition; it's asking, 'Do I
even understand what the trip model looks
Furthermore, although research shows that
women are more financially secure today than
two years ago, retail growth remains slow because retailers have not responded to new expectations from shoppers.
Fewer than half of shoppers are loyal to
brands today and are disillusioned by the lack
of perceived differentiation in categories, feeling that most retailers and brands are mediocre
at best. But basic price promotions won't win
over the shopping goddess, who can easily
find her own deals. Nor will touting "new and