Impact of Customer Needs on Retail Trends

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After reading this lesson, you'll see just how much impact consumers have on the retail industry. See how customer needs are shaping the retail experience.

Customer Needs

Think back to a time when you were shopping for something you wanted. How did you do your shopping and what made you decide to go with one particular shop? Was it the customer experience? The ease of purchasing? The price?

Whatever your process, you may not have been aware that your decisions are actually changing the way retail stores operate. Customer needs, what shoppers expect and want from a business, have a pretty big impact on retail stores. In fact, they can change and shape the retail trends of the future.

Retail Trends

A retail trend is a change in how companies operate to keep up with current changes. Most often these trends are based on customer needs.

Just think of your local clothing store. In the fall and winter months, you'll see clothes for the fall and winter. You'll also see fall and winter colors for sale. Come spring and summer though, and you'll see the store change to spring and summer clothes with corresponding colors.

This is because customers are looking for different things during those times. If clothing stores didn't change to keep up, they might suffer from competition or even go out of business.

Retail trends are continuously changing. Retail companies have seen a shift in how customers purchase their items. Instead of mainly shopping at brick and mortar establishments, more and more people are shopping online.

This change has contributed to the large number of stores that have announced that they have or will close. Why, in 2017 alone, about 7,000 stores have closing announcements. It's not just small lesser known stores either, businesses having recently closed several hundred stores around the nation include RadioShack, Sears, JC Penney, Kmart, and Payless ShoeSource.

Personal Touch

Another recent retail trend is that of the shopping experience itself. Instead of going to stores to simply purchase items, shoppers want to experience personal service, a personal touch. They also want a unique experience.

To get customers through the door, retailers often need to provide a personal experience
customer needs retail

Busy people need an extra incentive to head out the door and visit a store. Especially since it's much easier to shop online from home and get everything delivered without having to set foot outside.

In response, Nordstrom is testing out a new concept store in Los Angeles called Nordstrom Local. This store focuses strictly on service and doesn't keep any merchandise at all. Customers instead schedule appointments to get help picking a new wardrobe and style.

Employees help customers find clothes that work for them and then these clothes are delivered to the store for the customers to try on. Nordstrom has yet to see whether it is successful or not.


Still another change in retail trends is that of using current technology. By keeping up with current technology, you can create a unique and personalized shopping experience for your visitors.

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