Consumer spending habits are rapidly changing and brands need to adapt to the opportunities to cater to a ‘new normal’ of remote working and altered shopping frequency, a new study says.
For its Global Connected Consumer Index, omnichannel marketing and experience cloud Selligent analyzed the brand interactions and expectations of 5,000 consumers globally.
It describes the changes it found as a result of the pandemic as “seismic”: three-quarters of global consumers reported less work (reduced hours, reduced pay, laid off, etc.) due to COVID-19 and, as a result, six in ten have modified purchases to focus on essential items, like food and safety products.
Staying at home is now a long-term expectation for most people with 58% prepared for a future of remote work; this is reflected not just in shopping intent but also in shopping frequency: 36% are now shopping online weekly, up from 28% before COVID-19.
The opportunity here for brands, the study suggests, is to instill continued confidence through relevant offerings while ensuring flexibility to cater to the current unique situation. It highlights three areas to address:
Relevant, omnichannel communications
These remain a critical component of marketing, with 75% of consumers reporting they prefer to receive messages via email (59%) or mobile (33%). Two out of five respondents reported that they unsubscribed from at least three email lists in the last six months, with 55% citing “too many emails” as the reason.
Tangible benefits and perks have become a must-have for brand interactions, with 54% reporting that sales and deals are the most valuable communications to receive as consumers become more cost-conscious and value-focused.
Reliance on phone customer support as a first point of contact has also dropped ten points to 33% this year, underscoring the importance of customer service availability across channels, including email, website chat, social, and SMS/text.
Real-time, customer-first service
This should remain the priority for brand marketers, as consumers clearly state what factors urge them to buy: 70% want the ability to know product availability before purchasing online or in store, 76% want clearly communicated safety protocols, and 64% want mobile and contactless pickup or check-in options.
Loyalty and advocacy are shifting
Only 8% of consumers say that “brand name” matters when it comes to their buying loyalty, while 51% percent believe that free products and buyer perks (secret sales, free shipping, promo codes) are the best ways for brands to show they care.
“It’s clear that listening to customers more closely, frequently looking for opportunities to deliver customer-first experiences and developing programs that reward buyers for their loyalty and advocacy will support an organization’s ability to, not only survive today’s challenging environment, but thrive in it,” said Selligent CEO Karthik Kripapuri.