What Motivates Consumers to Spend Less Time In-Store - eMarketer
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What Motivates Consumers to Spend Less Time In-Store


Morgan McAlenney
Executive Vice President, Digitail
The Integer Group

Technology allows today’s shoppers to make most decisions before they get to the store or forgo a trip to the store altogether. Morgan McAlenney, executive vice president of Digitail at shopper marketing agency The Integer Group, spoke with eMarketer’s Tricia Carr about why shoppers are willing to change their habits and what that means for brands.

eMarketer: How is technology disrupting the way consumers typically go shopping?

Morgan McAlenney: Time is valuable now. In the past it was about how much money you have, but now it’s about how much time you don’t have. The phone has made shopping a 24/7 activity. Even if Whole Foods isn’t open, you can put together your Instacart list. You can shop on Amazon from anywhere via your phone. That’s very different from a generation ago.

There’s also the service layer. For example, meal prep services like Blue Apron are helping to compress our time. If I don’t want to spend two hours creating a meal and instead can make a better meal in 30 minutes, I get time back to spend with my family. That’s a huge value, and it creates loyalty through service.

I’m loyal to a soda brand because I like the way it looks and tastes, but I’m loyal to Amazon Prime because I can subscribe to products and I don’t have to go to Costco to get a gigantic box of Pampers.

eMarketer: What are the ways that consumers are changing the way they shop?

McAlenney: Using technology can be a trepidatious choice for the masses—what am I doing and why? It’s a big decision to leave the comfort of how you normally do things.

“Time is valuable now. In the past it was about how much money you have, but now it’s about how much time you don’t have.”

Uber or Lyft represents what used to be calling a taxi. Now I use the app and wait to get picked up. That’s a big change. I used to go to the store, buy ingredients and figure out how to cook a meal myself, but now there’s Blue Apron or Plated. I used to go to the store, walk up and down the aisles and figure out what I like. Now with Instacart, I have to convince myself that I know what I like, create a list and it’s delivered.

eMarketer: As more decisions happen outside of brick-and-mortar locations, how will the retail store evolve?

McAlenney: Retail environments are set up as inventory management systems with merchandising. But if all of these decisions are happening before someone gets there, or consumers are having everything delivered to them, should the brick-and-mortar space shrink? Is it more of a microshowroom for those people that happen by? You can see a sample of what’s available, but the inventory is on your phone. It’s the “Amazonification” of retail.

eMarketer: What should brands focus on right now to stay top of mind?

McAlenney: There can be a conspicuousness by absence. If I go to check prices or customer reviews and I can’t find a brand on Amazon, maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about them. Shoppers are accessing so many things, and you have to be breadcrumbing them along.

Try to always be available to shoppers who are empowered now through multiple devices, apps and resources. Find those foundational and fundamental changes in behaviors and shoppers’ lists and put energy there.

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