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Retailers should take more notice of 'super shoppers'

By Retail Technology | Wednesday April 9 2014

IT service support expert Alan Watson discusses the importance this segment of the market plays and questions whether retailers are doing enough to attract and retain these elite customers

Recent reports have revealed that a quarter of UK retail spending comes from just 18% of shoppers, called ‘super shoppers,’ made up mainly of 25 to 44-year-old men and women working in professional or managerial roles. 

Alan Watson, managing director of independent IT service specialists Barron McCann discusses the importance this segment of the market plays and questions whether retailers are doing enough to attract and retain these elite customers.

“I’m sure you have numerous discussions in recent weeks about super shoppers, a small but high spending percentage of the shopping population. Many may be wary and think this is just another industry ‘buzzword,’ but far from being a faddy concept, this is very real and highly relevant for retailers today. 

“What’s more, it has bigger implications for retail technology and how this is being utilised to deliver a seamless customer experience,” he said. “Here are my views on why we should be taking notice of this particular segment of the market.”

Tech savvy, time poor, cash rich

The typical super shopper tends to be around 25-44 years old, either male or female and in professional or managerial roles. According to the research, this segment makes up 18% of the shopping population, but accounts for 70% of total retail spend, which stood at more than £200 billion last year. 

“We can confidently make a few basic assumptions about this particular customer profile,” continued Watson. “They are likely to be very tech savvy and regularly enjoy the multichannel shopping experience. They demand 24-hour access to enable them to shop wherever and whenever they want and above all, they want a quick, simple and fuss free shopping experience. 

“What also makes the needs of the super shopper particularly important is that, while price is always going to be a consideration, I would argue it is not a prime motivator for their purchase. 

"In my experience, these types of customers aren’t looking for the cheapest product and 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 retailer that offers them a hassle free shopping experience. Technology plays a critical part in the success (or failure) to deliver the experience the super shopper is looking for.” 

Is technology provision up to the job

It is clear that the right choice of technology plays a critical part in attracting super shoppers, but what should retailers do about retaining them once they’ve captured their attention? “It’s easy to attract new customers," said Lawson.

"But if you can’t live up to your promises, they’ll soon go elsewhere. It’s worth remembering that super shoppers are typically cash rich and time poor, so IT downtime is highly dangerous ground,” he responded.

“I came across a great infographic which revealed some fascinating statistics relating to downtime, both instore and online. According to the illustration from RetailCustomerExperience and Cradlepoint, every minute of PoS [point-of-sale] downtime costs a retailer $4,700 (approximately £2,800), one in three customers will abandon a queue if they have to wait more than 5 minutes. 

"Alarmingly, 50% of customers will avoid or abandon a retailer in the future if they were kept waiting more than 5 minutes. I wonder how may of these are super shoppers?"

Addressing business IT issues

“So what is the solution?” Lawson countered. “Quite simply, whatever you do, make sure you do it well. Don’t 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, not just your ‘super shoppers’ will thank you for,” he concluded.

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