The warning that middle-of-the-road retailers would have to change or die was sounded as far back as 2003, in the marketing manual “Trading Up,” by Michael J. Silverstein and Neil Fiske. Because consumers had so much information and so many options, the authors explained, people were shifting their spending habits: they “traded down,” or saved money, on products when they cared only about getting the lowest price, and “traded up,” or paid more, for goods that were especially fashionable or functional.
That pattern has persisted through boom, bust, and feeble recovery. “It’s the segmentation of the American population that’s killing Sears and J. C. Penney—their inability to respond to the needs of heartland consumers, who remain a very rich force in the world of retail, who spend a lot of money and love to go shopping, still,” Silverstein, a senior partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group.
“love to go shopping, still”
No doubt about it. Thinking of my own shopping habits… the amount of shopping done has not diminished much but the way I do it has. How about you?
If your way of shopping has altered, what about your customers and clients?
Are you where they are?
If not why not?
What do you know need to do differently?