The Future of Shopping

Like many of our fellow mamas, we like to shop. So we were very happy when our friends at Collective Bias invited us to go with them to a special conference called “Shop: The Industry Informant.” The event was presented by the Center for Retailing Excellence and held on the University of Arkansas campus on May 10, 2012.

The room was packed with executives from some of the biggest brands and research firms in the country and boasted a high-powered panel of speakers, including John Burbank of Nielsen, Anne Zybowski of Kantar, Philip Chambes of Pepsi, Fern Grant of MARS Advertising and Cindy Davis of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

The focus of this conference was shopping — how and why we do it as well as how and why it’s changing, thanks to the growing popularity of online shopping and smartphones. One of the most significant things we realized during the conference is just how closely brands and research firms are paying attention to us — mothers — and what we want and need from our shopping experiences. That’s good news for busy moms who need to get the family’s shopping done as efficiently and economically as possible.

Below are some of the notes we took during the conference that we found particularly insightful and/or surprising about the Internet’s growing influence on what was once just a simple trip to the store.

  • 68% of diapers bought in China are ordered online.
  • Smartphone penetration will soon equal that of the personal computer.
  • 70% of teens online also own smartphones. Teens congregate online and on Facebook, and research shows that they’re driving less and going to movies less than in years past.
  • Amazon has become the “Wikipedia of products” because it’s so often used by shoppers to research user reviews before making a purchase.
  • Products likely to do well in the online marketplace include: Bulky items, specialty items, high-involvement items (like baby food), items that have a wider selection online, and high-use rate items.
  • 49% of shoppers do research online; The thing shoppers said they do most often right before a purchase is to read online reviews.

Our thanks to Collective Bias for the invitation to hear some of the most cutting-edge research on the future of shopping and how it will impact women and families in the coming months and years. For more info on Collective Bias, click here.