Research Report

In brief

In brief

  • To develop more meaningful relationships with shoppers, retailers must orient themselves around a strong, authentic purpose linked to I&D values.
  • Championing Inclusion & Diversity is an opportunity to cultivate a culture that matches customer values.
  • By offering products that address shoppers’ diverse needs, retailers are becoming more inclusive and attracting new customers at the same time.


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.

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.

42%

of ethnic minority shoppers would switch to a retailer committed to I&D

41%

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.

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Lead with purpose

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.

​Jill Standish

Senior Managing Director – Global Retail Consulting Practice


Joe Taiano

Managing Director – Global Retail Marketing


Maureen Bossi

Accenture Research Retail I&D Lead

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