The pandemic has re-shaped how consumers shop. At first, it was merely out of necessity based on the unforeseen circumstances of quarantines and lockdowns. But as restrictions eased and time passed, these newly adopted shopping trends have transformed the behaviors of today’s shoppers into the foreseeable future, and retailers must take notice.
According to a 2022 Shopper Experience Index study, shoppers who started purchasing online in 2020 and 2021 are most likely to remain there. But a new breed of shopper is entering the arena – one that relies on online product research to guide their decisions before venturing back to brick-and-mortar stores. This new methodology is known as hybrid shopping.
An article posted on Forbes.com echoes this new breed of shopper. “Even if shoppers make their purchase in-store, they will have researched that product online first – another habit seen during the pandemic that is here to stay.”
Consumer loyalty to one particular brand has also changed due to the pandemic. With shortages and shipping delays widespread throughout many global industries, consumers became more willing to cross-shop other brands when the products they were initially looking for were not readily available. This includes everything from cars to kitchen appliances to home and garden supplies and more. Therefore, brands must keep up to date with how consumers shop today and put dedicated marketing plans in place to reach and retain them.
Online reviews are more vital than ever as shoppers become their salespeople in an e-commerce environment. In some cases, this could very well be the most effective content required to secure a purchase. Legitimate reviews speak to quality, value, purpose, and even customer service to an audience looking for something to help encourage their purchasing decision.
Be aware that having nothing but positive reviews for a product or a perfect “5-star” rating leads consumers to question an organization’s authenticity, as negative reviews can be just as beneficial as the positive ones – helping an organization see where they can improve.
Social Media Inspiration
According to the Shopping Experience Index, “69% of shoppers have been inspired by social media to purchase through another channel, with ease as the top reason for doing so.” Therefore, businesses must ensure they’re capturing customers’ attention on the appropriate social channels while enabling the buying process to continue seamlessly and painlessly from the social platform.
The pandemic has reminded retailers never to make assumptions about how consumers shop, especially after circumstances that have entirely altered their normalcy. Now more than ever, it’s important for retailers to stay in tune with how, when, and where their customers choose to shop.