It is no secret that today’s shoppers do not always feel valued for who they are. The good news is that the retail industry is making strides in Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) and customers are noticing–which in turn creates a tremendous opportunity for retailers. Our recent survey of shoppers reveals that not only do they expect retailers to engage in conversations around social issues, but that I&D influences their purchasing and switching behaviors. Retailers can expect better performance when they offer products, services and experiences that reflect what shoppers want and value.
The Forrester Wave™: European Cybersecurity Consulting Providers, Q3 2021 graph
People are already shopping their values
Retailers’ I&D practices are making an impact on shoppers’ behaviors right now. People are already shopping based on their values. Forty-one percent of shoppers tell us that in the last year, they have shifted at least 10 percent of their business away from a retailer that does not reflect how important I&D is to them. Diverse shoppers are even more likely to leave.
Shoppers are not just turning away from retailers that do not share their values, they are turning toward those that do. Twenty-nine percent of all shoppers, and still more diverse ones, are likely to switch to a retailer that reflects the importance they place on I&D.
of ethnic minority shoppers would switch to a retailer committed to I&D
of LGBT shoppers would switch to a retailer committed to I&D
There are things that retailers can do to provide a more inclusive shopping journey for all people. Some are already making inspiring progress across the business.
Products: What you sell
By offering products that address shoppers’ diverse needs, retailers are becoming more inclusive and attracting new customers at the same time.
Advertising: How you sell it
By developing ads that reflect the everyday experiences of people from all walks of life, retailers are establishing an authentic connection with shoppers.
Touchpoints: Where you sell it
By creating shopping environments that accommodate and celebrate different shopping experiences, retailers are creating safe spaces for shoppers.
Workforce: Who sells it
By embracing inclusive hiring practices, retailers are naturally becoming more diverse and benefiting from workers’ insights and experiences.
There is no quick fix to becoming a retail leader in I&D. The approach must be holistic, not half-hearted. It must be sustained, not short-lived. To move the needle, lead with inclusion first—inclusive behaviors seed a more diverse culture. Because the reality is that hiring for diversity alone does not drive meaningful change if all employees do not exhibit inclusive behavior.