What Are The Key Trends in UK Retail Today?

This post is by Liz Parry, Strategic Account Director at Teleperformance UK

Last week, the Pew Research Centre in the US announced that the largest proportion of the American labour force is now millennials – adults aged 18-34. I expect that other countries, including the UK, will also be reaching this milestone soon, but it is not just important for employers to note. Companies that market to these working-age people, particularly retailers, need to think carefully about what this means.

The most obvious observation is that millennials are no longer just a minority. You can’t wait a few more years before thinking about their opinion or preferences. The younger demographic is fast becoming the majority of employed citizens – how does this change your approach to customer service?

The way that companies approach the customer experience can define how often those customers become repeat buyers. In retail, as many as 9 out of 10 customers will base future purchasing decisions on the way a company gives service.

The annual Which? survey of UK retailers was published just a few days ago and showed that personal service and trusted advice were what counts most from a retailer. Three of the top ten stores in the Which? research were independent, rather than chain brands.

The boost to the reputation of independent retailers is important to note, along with the changing demographic of consumers. Brand is no longer enough to keep consumers happy. They are looking for quality service and products and are prepared to move on and change retailer if they are not happy.

I believe that these various research results from all over the world are painting a picture of consumers today that are in general:

  • Younger and more comfortable with technology and a multichannel approach to interacting with retailers
  • Less loyal and much more likely to quickly move to a competitor if you cannot meet their demands.
  • More focused on service as a part of the overall experience. Great service from a retailer is becoming an expectation of the purchasing experience, not just something that only happens if there is a complaint.

Do you believe that the retail industry in the UK – and beyond – is facing up to these key trends? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn profile.

Plane in a shop, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

 

Photo by Sarah Tzineiris licensed under Creative Commons.

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