Happy campers favour supermarkets according to new research
A new study has shown that consumers are more likely to purchase outdoor products such as camping equipment and walking boots, as part of their weekly supermarket shop, rather than visiting a specialist outdoor retailer.
The research, commissioned by retail agency Gratterpalm, found that for lower priced items such as torches, folding tables and pop-up tents, supermarket sales account for almost three in every five purchases.
However, offering greater product knowledge, broader ranges and prestige brands, specialist retailers are a popular choice with middle class climbers and campers, attracting more than 60% of the market amongst those spending over £100.
The study also reveals that 56% of over 45s favour specialist retailers, while almost 68% of those aged 18 to 44 are more likely to buy from the supermarkets.
Chris McCash, head of ShopFront, Gratterpalm’s sister agency, said: "The research shows that the majority of younger shoppers are more likely to buy outdoor products in their local supermarket than from a specialist outlet. However, perhaps more surprisingly, almost half of the older generation also favour the supermarkets for such purchases, which is a worrying statistic for specialist retailers trying to retain their market share.
"It’s hard not to be impressed by how many product categories the supermarkets now offer, even if the choice within those ranges may be limited compared to a specialist retailer. Having had the wettest summer for 100 years, perhaps now is the time for those retailers with superior products to focus on quality and shopper contact rather than join in the battle for a £20 tent that struggles to perform."
When it comes to service, the study indicates that shoppers value knowledgeable staff who can talk to them in detail about the products, with almost a quarter of customers identifying this as a major factor in influencing their choice of retailer. The research indicates that this is one area in which specialist retailers are leading over the supermarkets.
McCash continued: "When a quarter of your total customers rate staff knowledge as a major influence, it should be something to focus on. The growth of interactive digital tools in-store allows even those trained at a basic level to appear knowledgeable and also increase basket spend with cross selling. They can also help capture shoppers details and enable post purchase contact."
"In addition, we have looked at targeted and partnership activity to gain access to those most likely to respond to high quality and good advice. This often means high value activity for a limited budget."
In terms of post-purchase contact, once the shopper has returned home only a quarter are contacted by the retailer, with 60% of these follow ups made via email. Phone calls are the least favoured method amongst retailers, accounting for only 15% of all follow ups. Online retailers were shown to be at the forefront when it comes to post-purchase contact, followed by supermarkets, who contact almost a third of their outdoor leisure shoppers following a sale.
The study also found that the refund policy offered by the retailer affects around 18% of decisions, with many shoppers prepared to buy if the policy provides a safety net. The statistics suggest that consumers feel reassured knowing that, even if they buy the wrong item or change their mind, they will not have to pay for the mistake.
McCash continued: "The research suggests that, when dissatisfied customers are contacted by retailers post-purchase, less than one in 10 make their real feelings known. This could be because retailers are relying on impersonal methods of communication such as email and post.
"Outdoor retailers in particular need to rethink their current post-purchase service investment, to make this a truly effective tool for identifying and winning over potentially dissatisfied shoppers."
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