Consumer Behavior Trends – Demonstrate Value to Maintain Customer Loyalty
If the last few years have taught us anything, consumer behaviour can change rapidly. Brands that want to stay relevant and thrive need to know consumers, where they are, and offer value.
With commerce increasingly online, today’s customers expect convenience and speed but with a healthy dose of customization. Increasing economic pressures due to inflation further challenge marketers to demonstrate value to maintain customer loyalty.
Keep these five consumer behaviour trends in mind as you plan for the year.
Omnichannel travel is here to stay
Foot traffic is returning to physical stores, but consumers need more time to be ready to give up the digital shopping behaviours they adopted during the pandemic. Instead, they are using multiple channels throughout the buying process. Increasingly, consumers will use the channel that best suits their needs.
But more is needed to have separate in-person, e-commerce, and marketplace channels. They must work together. Consumers expect these channels to interact with each other so that actions taken on one are reflected on the others to provide a seamless experience.
An omnichannel journey could look like this:
Website: The consumer begins their search by exploring product descriptions and reading user reviews online. Add a few items to your cart for easier comparison.
In Person: You go to a physical location to get more information from a staff member who has already done your research. The consumer tries the items and goes one step further in the purchase process.
Enforcement: The consumer narrows down the list of items in their cart based on information obtained from the store. After thinking about it, you make the final in-app purchase.
Brands that deliver a seamless, personalized experience across all channels can delight customers and drive loyalty.
TikTok and Instagram are the new search platforms
Google’s search dominance no longer remains unchallenged. As consumers take advantage of chat and social platforms to find and research products, marketers must rethink how much effort they should put into servicing Google’s powerful algorithms.
While consumers can still use Google to browse the web, they also turn to Amazon for product research, Instagram for trends, TikTok for fun videos, and ChatGPT, OpenAI’s natural language chatbot, for unbranded search queries.
Even Google admits that social networks are encroaching on its territory. In July, a Google executive reported that around 40% of young people use TikTok and Instagram instead of Google to find lunch spots.
In an increasingly fragmented search space, marketers must understand each platform’s different audiences and demands. The NBA, for example, uses its TikTok channel for short and funny videos and memes, while on Instagram, it posts news and game highlights.
To optimize their social media presence, brands must expand search engine optimization (SEO) strategies beyond Google to include other algorithms. Also, they should consider leaning their spending towards video, as moving images perform better than text on social channels.
The customer is the hero of the story
Consumers don’t want to take your word for your brand’s greatness. They need to hear it from other users as well as influencers. User-generated content (UGC) in the form of reviews or social media posts looks more authentic. And while there may be a significant outlay to generate enough user energy around content, word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
Follow these three steps for influential UGC:
Involve your audience: Be explicit about the types of content you’re looking for.
Build your community: Comment and share user-generated content to turn it into a conversation. Create your brand personality to fit your crucial segment.
Measure your impact: Use measurement tools to determine what content drives engagement and increases conversions.
Technology continues to expand the reach of marketing
2022 was the year that artificial intellegence (AI) and machine learning (ML) went mainstream. OpenAI’s ChatGPT caused a sensation with its ability to generate human-sounding content in seconds. The organization’s generative AI platform for images, DALL-E, can create visual assets from natural language descriptions.
Marketers can use these platforms to quickly create first drafts of blogs and social media posts, which they then edit and refine for accuracy and brand voice.
Additionally, more brands are looking at the metaverse, the immersive digital world enabled through virtual or augmented reality. Marketers see the growth potential with 400 million monthly users accessing metaverse platforms.
Marketers must consider how immersive experiences in the metaverse can become extensions of their brand.
Consumers demand attention to ESG
Consumers are prioritizing environmental and social practices in their purchasing decisions. According to Simon + Kucher & Partners’ research, 63% of consumers have changed their purchasing behaviour to emphasize sustainability in the last five years. Additionally, 39% of Generation Z and 42% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services.
As companies align their business models with consumer concerns, marketers can make connections between consumer priorities and environmental and social impacts.
An ESG message may only work for some companies, although almost all brands can improve on environmental and social factors. Marketing must authentically support a brand’s core mission. The last thing you should do is stretch the truth or outright lie about your efforts.