Editor's note: Jennifer Wehr Holt is a professor of marketing and management at Haile/US Bank College of Business, Northern Kentucky University. Bridget Nichols is a professor of marketing and sports business at Haile/US Bank College of Business, Northern Kentucky University.
In the past decade, few things have changed as rapidly as retail shopping. Thanks to disruptive fads, trends and the innovations of a few key players, consumers now hold more control and more power over retailers than ever before, for one main reason: they have more options than ever. And the more options you have, the more power you have.
We have more stores, more ways of shopping, more delivery methods and more products than the largest superstore can hold. If Amazon doesn’t have it, Apple didn’t innovate it, Alexa doesn’t know it and Google can’t search it, does it even exist?
We live in a world where immediate gratification isn’t fast enough to keep up with increasing demand – for fast delivery, low price, good value, high quality. For products that are recyclable, sustainable, natural/organic and locally-sourced.
And do we dare admit that there is a direct, linear relationship between increased customer options and increased expectations? In fact, consumer expectations of manufacturers and retailers for product choices are at an all-time high, yet brand loyalty is at an all-time low of 9% (Nielsen, 2019). So in today’s shopping world, disloyalty may be the new loyalty.
Adding to decreasing loyalty and endless product options are the latest trends. Some are merely fads but others are not only here to stay but are gaining traction across all generations. For example, consumers, as well as companies, are increasingly taking on social and environmental responsibility as they become more aware of how their actions affect personal and planet health. Many companies have increased sustainability-friendly product opti...