A recent US study by Catalina, investigating the shopping habits of more than 32 million consumers across nearly 10,000 stores, has revealed some interesting results. For example, it found we each buy less than 1% of a store’s products each year, purchasing just 260 different products annually - or five per week.

The results should set alarm bells ringing for retailers. Consumers are buying a tiny fraction of what is being put before them in-store and the onus should be on retailers to assess how they can change this.

Shoppers were found to be “on a mission to get in and out as fast as possible”, which clearly shows that for them the food shop is a routine, or worse still a necessary evil. They buy the same products, take the same route around the store and leave feeling a task has been completed rather than an experience has been enjoyed.

Retailers must realise we are now living in a post-digital marketing era and the consumer path to purchase has changed forever. Viewing technology as a ‘nice-to-have’ doesn’t cut it any longer. Instead it should be used as an essential conductor to influence shopping behaviour.

Technology facilitates journeys and allows us to make online and in-store connections with brands. Done well, retailers can ensure these journeys are seamless, immersive and pre-emptive. The key decision now for retailers is to work out which is the best digital enabler that will engage customers, maximise the relationship and turn off autopilot.

The good news is we have at our disposal all means of new technologies. Retailers must use them to create interesting and engaging experiences. For example, a shoe retailer could remove all expensive stockroom areas and use this space to host a catwalk for potential customers to record their experience, connecting with friends digitally before ordering for home delivery.

The customer is in total control and will treat standard operating procedures with disdain. Retailers and brands alike must embrace this new dawn, innovate around these new digital enablers and create enjoyable, meaningful shopping experiences.

Mark Artus is CEO of global branding agency 1HQ