Dealing with ‘Vigilante Consumers’: Retail Trends

The first in our 10 part series, The Vigilante Consumer is part of our focus on retail trends shaping 2018. In partnership with visual merchandising consultants The Metamorphosis Group, this season’s forecast will highlight some of the key consumer issues we believe will have a major impact on the retail industry over the coming 12 months. We will Cover topics including the importance of personalisation, service and connection, transparency, omni-channel marketing and demographic shifts. It is our hope that it give you a glimpse into the behavioural mindset of today’s shoppers; your customers!

We’ll post in bite size chunks and don’t forget to check out our Next Steps at the bottom – questions every retailer should be asking themselves. Leave us a comment and let us know your experience. We hope this offers you practical ways to remain competitive in the years ahead. To download the full Retail Trends 2018 white paper, click here.

Number 1 ballThe Vigilante Consumer

“If I’m happy, I won’t tell you. If I’m unhappy, I’ll tell the world!”

That’s the mantra of today’s consumer. Retailers would do well to take heed and make peace with that upfront. Consumers are mad as hell. They want the age old promise that ‘the customer is ALWAYS right’, to reign once again supreme.

In recent years, we’ve seen a huge backlash against brands that are pushing too hard or coming across unethically. With the rise of social media however, consumers have a voice like never before. It’s a voice that won’t be silenced anytime soon.

The term ‘Vigilante Consumer’ was first coined by Faith Popcorn in her bestselling book, The Popcorn Report. In the book, Popcorn refers to the activism of consumers towards marketing scandals, shams, trickeries and false claims.

Scandals, shams and trickeries

She uses the example of Dannon’s popular Activia brand of yoghurt. Dannon reportedly lured consumers into paying more for its purported nutritional benefits. In fact, they were pretty much the same as every other kind of yoghurt.

Having falsely touted the “clinically” and “scientifically” proven nutritional benefits of its product, consumers filed a lawsuit along with others who said they’d been bamboozled. A class action settlement last year forced Dannon to pay up to $45 million in damages. ouch!

Cosmetic giant, Dior recently signed up 25 year old Cara Delevingne as the new face of its anti-ageing products. The cosmetic company no doubt soon regretted it though, after grandly announcing the news via social media to mixed reviews. An onslaught of confused comments and twitter reactions ensued. One our favourites: “Nothing against Cara but really Dior, c’mon???” one wrote. “Don’t think I’ll be wasting my money on this product line since you clearly don’t have much confidence in its abilities.”


Remember, you are visible.

Think about the social platforms your business is currently on. How equipped are you? Are your staff properly trained? Are you ready to respond to your customer base at all times; the good the bad and the ugly?

Free social sites like Facebook are great ways to communicate with customers, and they praise businesses that are active and responsive with added benefits, so make sure that’s you. For example, responding to 90% of messages within 15 minutes will enable you to display a free trader badge on your facebook webpage. Fall below this and your badge will be removed.

Read the full trends report by clicking here

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