Cutting edge tech key to specialist stores challenge, IRI

Cutting edge tech key to specialist stores challenge, IRI

The influence and importance of emerging specialist retail channels, like drug stores and make-up stores, is growing, according to the European Shopper Insights Report conducted by IRI.

The study of 2,600 consumers across seven European countries reveals that 39% of shoppers now visit a drug store, a difference of 18% between ‘more frequently’ and ‘less frequently’ compared to two years ago. In addition, 35% visit a pharmacy, and around one fifth other similar specialist retailers, such as make-up (20%) and perfumery stores (22%). At a time when many retailers are trying to rationalise their product ranges, product range is still the number one key driver for consumers when going to a physical store, with 56% of shoppers choosing a drug store because it offers a wide range of products. A further 52% say they chose a drug store because of convenience and 42% because of the store services available. Product range is also critical for shoppers when opting for a make-up store (59%), while 49% are attracted by in-store services and 34% by quality.

For the report, shoppers were asked to evaluate each retail channel based on a list of features (product range, quality, price/promo, convenience, innovation, shopping experience, location, time to shop, specificity of products) and attribute a relevance to each feature, allowing IRI to create a Customer Satisfaction Index. According to this Index, make-up, perfumery stores and drug stores all outperform hypermarkets and supermarkets when it comes to customer satisfaction due to the higher level of experience on offer. This is especially true for products that require a specific store ambiance or environment, such as in personal care or frozen food. 

Laura Fusi, Shopper Insight Senior Manager, IRI, says: “This a major challenge that manufacturers and mass market retailers need to work out together; identifying the right range, product and brand positioning, as well as pricing strategy, in order to offer a real alternative to these specialised stores whose strengths lie in selling their own brands. Cutting-edge technology can help analyse shopper needs in different geographies and different store types – at the store level – to help drive growth.”

According to the report, multi-channel shoppers across Europe visit 2.5 different channels a year, on average, to purchase personal and beauty care products, compared to 1.9 channels for beverages, 1.7 for frozen food and 1.2 for pet food. The Italians top the table when buying personal and beauty care products, visiting 3.2 channels per year. 

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