Gleaning insight into the modern consumer’s mind is beneficial in dictating your strategy. It can be easier said than done, which is why so many brands are miles behind where they’d like to be. However, if you’re committed to understanding, investing, and adapting as you go, your brand will begin to stand out as a pioneer and an innovator.
What Do Consumers Want From Brands?
An Omnichannel Shopping Experience
Very few shoppers are solely “online” or “offline” consumers. The vast majority of consumers shop back and forth between websites, social media, mobile apps, and physical stores. These omnichannel shoppers spend an average of four percent more every shopping trip to a physical store, and 10% more online compared to single-channel shoppers—and, they shop 23% more often.
Your brand’s customers are looking for seamless consistency in look, feel, and messaging—no matter which channel they choose to interact with your brand. Creating an omnichannel experience fosters a sense of community.
Customers not only expect a frictionless omnichannel focus upfront, but they expect it in your back-end processes, as well. Advances in technology have made it easier for brands and retailers to keep items in stock, fulfill orders efficiently, and checkout orders quickly. Bridging the gap between online and offline channels alleviates bottlenecks that would otherwise jeopardize the overall user experience.
Hyper-personalization leverages artificial intelligence and real-time data to deliver more relevant content, product, and service information to each customer.
Taking this extra step in personalization is important, considering 72% of consumers say they will only engage with brands that tailor marketing messages to individual shopper needs and preferences.
Brands can incorporate hyper-personalization into social, mobile, and in-store marketing—which also creates an omnichannel experience—to cater to consumers’ desires.
Four out of five consumers believe society is more divided than ever—and 78% are looking to leading brands to bridge the divide, using social media as a platform. Brand behaviors that connect with audiences include:
- liking or responding to a fan
- showcasing brand personality
- supporting a cause
- inviting user-generated content
- promoting offline events
Consumers want brands to focus on people, not just products. They look to brands to connect disparate groups of people across platforms. Why does social connection matter? Three-quarters of those surveyed said they would buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor. When they don’t feel a connection, 70% are less likely to shop there and 61% spend less when they do.
Existing mobile architecture makes it easy for brands to connect with busy, on-the-go, smartphone-enabled shoppers. Brands can partner with a third-party mobile shopping rewards app, like Shopkick to reach an already-loyal base of consumers. Shopkick allows consumers to begin their purchase journey by browsing engaging in-app content from several brands and retailers, whether they’re at home or on the go. For partners, this content helps build pre-shop awareness and consideration and puts products at the top of shoppers’ minds. Users can check the Shopkick app to see which brands or retailers offer “kicks,” or rewards points, which incentivize shoppers to visit a store or browse online. Eventually, Shopkick users redeem their kicks for free gift cards, which builds a positive affinity and loyalty for the brands that awarded them.
The personalized retail customer experience has overtaken product and price in terms of competitive advantage, with 86% of shoppers willing to pay more for better UX. Brands can leverage Shopkick in-store to offer consumers an engaging and interactive, rewarding experience. In-store, Shopkick utilizes an engaging gamification strategy that drives shoppers to products at-shelf and encourages physical product interaction in exchange for kicks. This allows brands to boost product awareness when it truly matters most—in-aisle, with the product in hand. By offering users an additional kick incentive for making a purchase, Shopkick closes the loop and drives sales. When consumers receive rewards via Shopkick, they attribute them to the partnering brands—also building positive affinity and loyalty.
Value for their Loyalty
Rewarding loyalty may have been a differentiating factor at one time. Now it’s par for the course, with 79% of consumers stating they will only shop with brands who show they care about shopper loyalty.
It’s a common mistake to focus on luring customers through price discounts and special offers—unless you are committed to being known for offering the lowest prices. This angle has worked for brands like Aldi, Dollar General, and Burlington. However, most businesses would rather have greater pricing freedom but still retain their fan base.
The best programs also offer flexibility in rewards, so consumers get what they want in exchange for their loyalty. For instance, many programs have different tiers so customers can gain small or big rewards, depending on how much they’re willing to invest. Flexibility will enable customers to stay engaged at every point in the journey.
Value doesn’t have to be lavish; it can be found in thoughtfulness. A simple gesture like a handwritten note, complimentary sample, birthday bonus offer, or free appreciation gift can go a long way.