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GUEST COMMENT Everything Must Go – including the way we shop

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There’s a well-known phrase in retail: “Everything must go”. Most of the time it’s a sticker slapped in a shop window to shift units for bargain prices but right now it could refer to traditional consumer behaviour, as changes in the way we shop reach breakneck speed. At Quidco, we’re seeing five simultaneous shifts in shopping that add up to more than just an evolution, but a revolution.

Nobody buys full price

Shopping around for the best deal is easier than ever because… well, the internet. And, as brands fight to compete, customers have come to expect deals everywhere. Paying full price is a fading consumer behaviour. Indeed, recommended retail price or any non-sale, non-incentive price now more often serves to show customers what a good deal they are getting, rather than being the price they transact at.

We need look no further than the massive traffic and conversion spike we can deliver when brands can offer 10% cashback to customers through Quidco, especially when that’s on top of attractive discounts. That shows a fundamental power shift from brand to consumer, but that in turn offers opportunity, as consumer loyalty is developed if they customers are rewarded.

Aggregator sites are king

Consumers are increasingly turning to aggregator sites over individual retailer websites to shop. Why? User experience. Quidco stats show that online travel agents that allow you to book flights, hotel rooms and other extras as bespoke holiday packages capture 88% of all online bookings.

Major online travel agents have benefited – not just because they offer price comparison and tangible value through discounts and cashback partnerships with us. They also offer a customer every possible experience they might need to buy all in one place with just a few steps. Without a good user experience, brands cannot count on returning customers.

Integrate or die

App integration is one area we’ll be watching with hawk eyes in the coming months. This is about the journey between a retailer’s app and those of aggregator sites and loyalty platforms, or vice versa. As a high performance demand-generation platform Quidco has a foot in both aggregation and loyalty. We have seen that if you allow your customer to travel seamlessly between your app and other associated apps, or from our app to yours, you will be more likely to convert transactions and retain customer as they develop new mobile muscle memory in a channel quickly growing channel.

Discounting starts earlier and earlier

Black Friday. It’s a phenomenon in terms of retail volume and this year brands will go even earlier with their discounting than they did last year. In 2016, we saw a steady build towards Black Friday from two weeks out. Why? Retailers have to grab market share ahead of their rivals and for that reason we expect to see the traffic build-up even earlier in 2017 – three weeks of tactical discounting, because…

…Singles Day will be even bigger this year

Last year, we predicted Singles Day would make its mark in the UK and in 2016 we saw a major ripple – 20% year on year retail traffic rises for November 11. People doubted the spread of American import Black Friday some years ago, and they should be coy about doubting the import of this Chinese retail phenomenon as ambitious brands use it as an anchor to begin a three-week discount period building to Black Friday and Cyber Weekend. Because if they don’t, their competitors will.

As consumer behaviours change, we have to embrace the “Everything must go” mantra – though not necessarily plastering it all over our shop fronts. Brands have to shift their relationships with consumers and consumer trends, and let some past expectations and practices go. And as the rate of change only gets quicker, that need will be one of the only constants.

Ido Padani is CCO at leading UK cashback loyalty platform Quidco

This is the third in a series contributed by Quidco. The previous two covered personalisation and mobile app integration

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