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Consumer of the Future

Changing Consumer Behaviour

Understanding how consumers make purchase decisions has become more complex due to changing societal habits, uncertain economies and the growing influence of technology that has revolutionised the way we search or buy products and services on the market. Increasingly, the consumers access a number of omni-channel sources, including social media, to cross-research and inform their purchase decisions. 

In such dynamically changing times and an increasingly competitive environment, it’s important for businesses to be informed and gather intelligence relevant for their sector or product category, to help them alleviate risks and ensure future growth. With the advent of a plethora of information and “big data” on how consumers interact with brands, the task of the retailers to customise offers for individual consumers has become difficult. 

Consumer activism in relation to plastic pollution that has been dominating our media in the recent months, has had an impact on the innovation and business strategies of our retailer and packaging manufacturers and we are likely to see a change of consumer behaviour in this space. 

There are a number of research topics that are of interest to The Retail Institute and our network, and we are exploring them though our membership, research and commercial outputs. The themes that we are working on include: 

Technology as the Interface in Consumer Decision-Making

How consumers use technology both for functional (e.g. to seek information about a product they wish to purchase) and hedonic (e.g. for enjoyment and social interactions) reasons; How retailers and brand owners can use technology to attract and retain their customers. How Artificial Intelligence (e.g. voice controlled technology) is changing the way we shop and offer products.

Circular Economy and Consumer Education

Investigating the complex relationship between implementing new economic models, legislation drivers, the challenges with UK waste infrastructure and innovation potential. Exploring how consumers make their purchase decisions based on environmental drivers and how can we educate and influence the behaviour to introduce more environmentally-friendly patterns.

Multi-Channel Customer Management

Understanding consumers use multiple channels to interact with the retailer; asking how retailers can use omni-channels to manage customers over their life cycle; are there any differences between consumers in terms of their individual choice/cultural orientations that can influence their needs from multi-channel environment? 

Using Data Analytics to Understand the Customer Journey

How various data sources such as transaction, CRM, customer surveys, web usage and social media can offer different perspectives of customer journey; How retailers and brand owners can integrate such data sources to get a holistic view of customer engagement; How do you predict future profitability of customers interacting with the retailer using omni-channel environments over their lifecycle?

The guys at The Retail Institute are a unique bunch in that they provide a new language for designing packaging for the future. Their multi-disciplinary approach, their enthusiasm, coupled with their strong science base allows them to translate fuzzy future trends into a powerful and clear design requirements for leaders in design to delve into. All round, an excellent package!

Brian Crombie - Sun Chemical