Raydiant’s new series, the Future of Shopping, interviews experts and thought leaders with a goal of better understanding what organizations can do to prepare themselves for what lies ahead.
The following is an interview we recently had with Natalya Bucuy, Marketing Director at LiveHelpNow.
How has consumer shopping behavior evolved over the past 5 years?
Over the last few years, the main change in consumer behavior involved the massive move towards online shopping. Shopping malls are losing business and closing their doors. Large big-box brick-and-mortar stores carry less merchandise and are also struggling as more business is done online. The ability to purchase whatever one needs with a click of a button or a swipe on a phone makes shopping more efficient. Social media advertising also makes it even easier to buy things online as sometimes a shopper does not even need to leave a social media platform to complete a purchase. It’s fast, easy, and convenient.
However, there is one other movement that occurs. With large stores closing and online shopping dominating, consumers are paying more attention to small shops. ‘Shop local’ is a big trend. Shopping is still an enjoyable social and leisurely activity, so when consumers do venture out of their home to shop, they head to small mom-and-pop shops in their own communities, where they can get quality merchandise and personable customer service.
What are the top 3 trends shaping the ways consumers shop?
Convenience, personalized customer service, and competitive pricing. Convenience is definitely on the top of the list. According to some reports, 83% of customers say convenience is more important than it was five years ago. Also, 52% say that more than half of their purchases are influenced by convenience. The world is busier than ever and when a consumer sees convenience in one industry, he or she will expect it in other industries as well. So, making the shopping easy, fast, and accessible will get companies where customers want them to be. The same goes for personalization. Customers expect personalized experiences. They want companies to know them and to cater to them on a personal level. Whether it’s something small, such as addressing the customer by name or following up to see how he or she liked her recent purchase, these experiences make customers feel good and make them remember the company long after the purchase. Finally, pricing is still an important factor. While customers might not mind paying a little extra for convenience and personalization, customers are still conscious about their wallets. As a company, combining all three of these trends will help build customer loyalty. Once you get your customers to trust a company, they will stay longer.
What’s the future of shopping?
More stores will become online entities. Fast, convenient service with free shipping and speedy delivery will win customers. Shopping small and local will also flourish, creating a different niche for those shoppers still craving in-person experiences. They, too, however, will have to offer online options. Ultimately, customer experience will drive shopping behaviors. Companies that get the customer experience right will come out as the ultimate winners. It’s also important to remember that consumer behaviours change rapidly in today’s world. Whether driven by technological advances or just by changing trends, shopping expectations are no longer stagnant. It is, therefore, important for companies to never stop learning more about their customers and those customers’ expectations. Communicating with customers in a quick, efficient, but yet still personal manner will also determine how well a company does in the future. So use the right tools, make all processes simple and convenient, and never stop adjusting, learning, and growing.
What are 3 actionable steps an organization can take to prepare for the future?
- Create and perfect processes that are effortless, efficient, and convenient. Make online shopping easy. Employ tools that take customers through the checkout process as smoothly and quickly as possible. Offer free shipping and the fastest delivery available.
- Make customer experience flawless. Customer experience will drive customer loyalty. Connect with customers on a personal level. Get to know your audiences and anticipate and fulfill their needs. Get into your customers’ heads and appeal to their deep psychological needs. Make every customer feel special and deliver service that is so good it leaves customers thinking and talking about your business long after they have completed their transactions.
- Perfect communication processes. Make it easy for customers to connect with you, ask questions, and resolve issues. Use omnichannel communication tools and connect with customers on a personal level.