If there’s one thing everyone learned over the past few years, consumer behavior is constantly changing. It was true at the onset of the pandemic, and it's all the more true today. Existing trends have accelerated, and the pandemic has shaped new customer preferences.
Brands must keep up with consumer trends to thrive in the competitive business environment. Customers can always find alternatives if companies do not meet their needs and wants.
Here are 5 Consumer Trends businesses must unlock to gain their competitive advantage.
The pandemic has hastened consumers' transition to digital products. Subgroups first skeptical of digital technologies and platforms are now among its most enthusiastic supporters. Plus, online shopping was very common at this time. The majority of shoppers will soon view their world as digital alone. The habits and fads shoppers adopted during the blackout are here to stay. As a result, people will have higher standards for their digital interactions.
Therefore, organizations must prioritize improving digital customer experience and better solution delivery via technology. In 2022, brands that successfully combine online and offline elements to surprise and please customers will emerge on top. The use of innovative business strategies is required.
A customer-centric company strategy prioritizes satisfying buyers before and after the transaction to increase revenue and brand loyalty. It's a method of conducting business that prioritizes the satisfaction of the company's patrons to foster loyalty.
However, more than satisfactory customer service is needed to qualify as a customer-centric business.
By focusing on the customer at the center of your organization, you may gather a plethora of information that will provide you with a comprehensive view of the client's whole experience. Using customer data to understand purchasing behavior, interests, and engagement; identifying opportunities to create products, services, and promotions for your best customers; and utilizing customer lifetime value to segment customers based on top spenders are just some of how businesses can use this information to improve the customer experience.
The winning companies valued their clients, provided outstanding service, and established long-lasting bonds with them. Additionally, the role of social media marketing in the customer journey evolved, significantly altering how consumers engaged with firms.
Here are four guidelines that will set your company apart and improve its customer-centricity:
1. Recruit with a focus on ensuring the satisfaction of your customers. The interactions between a company and its consumers are mostly shaped by those who work directly with the public. Emphasize finding and employing people who share your company's commitment to customer-centric values and the significance of excellent customer service, regardless of their specific job responsibilities.
2. Prioritize relationships. Customers should be treated as something other than data points in a financial report. A good working relationship with them benefits both parties because they are human beings.
3. Make user information freely available. To shift to a customer-focused strategy, you'll need easy access to all relevant customer information in one place. Businesses can provide better customer service through a united front, which is made possible by a customer relationship management database.
4. Align company values with the results enjoyed by customers. A customer-centric strategy can effectively encourage employees when behaviors are directly related to outcomes. For instance, strategies that reduce customer wait times or smooth customer transitions can be captured in real-time and used as examples of effectively implemented strategies.
Humanizing brands with stories
With the rise of user-generated content and influencer marketing, these trends have grown in popularity because they employ narrative to humanize impersonal brands and make them more approachable to consumers. People prefer to do business with other people rather than with impersonal corporations. Brands, challenges, and product benefits are all better communicated to consumers through engaging narratives.
In many ways, storytelling is crucial at every stage of a customer's buying process. It details the company's origins, founding members, and the steps the company's supply chain takes to get the product to the consumer. It has the potential to create a network and give customers what they want: an interactive experience. For optimal impact on audiences, content posted by good influencers and creators needs to be entertaining, interactive, new, genuine, and authentic to the influencer. Content created by influencers for businesses should be easily shareable and include a call to action to ensure maximum exposure and engagement.
One of the biggest consumer trends of the last years is the rise of omnichannel shopping. With omnichannel marketing, businesses use all available channels to communicate with their customers in a unified effort to build lasting relationships and positive brand perceptions. This encompasses both traditional storefronts and online venues (e.g. websites). With this strategy, businesses hope to provide customers with a stress-free, satisfying shopping experience across many channels. For example, "buy online and pick up in-store" is one example of an omnichannel strategy that gives customers the option to browse for and make a purchase without leaving the house. Now more than ever, businesses in fields as diverse as medicine, retail, finance, technology, and more are adopting omnichannel strategies.
Building omnichannel customer engagements can serve as a brand differentiator, getting the following benefits:
Customer service is better since omnichannel focuses on the individual experience across devices instead of the channel. Companies can increase sales and customer loyalty by shifting their attention to customers rather than platforms.
Establishing a consistent brand image and voice across media is essential to creating a comprehensive marketing plan. This brand identity should be based on the needs and priorities of the target audience. Businesses can develop a more all-encompassing strategy that enhances loyalty and channel-specific messaging by concentrating on the customer experience and adhering to the business's established principles while interacting with each channel.
An omnichannel strategy aims to increase customer interaction with a company in many ways. These broader, more frequent customer interactions throughout the buying process might boost earnings. Customers are more likely to return to your store and make more purchases because of the increased loyalty fostered by your more personalized communications. Although they make up a relatively small percentage of your total customer base, repeat customers typically account for 40 percent of your revenue.
To be fully omnichannel, you should also consider the user's interaction with the brand and the analytics they provide. By keeping tabs on consumer interactions across channels, brands can learn more about customers' journeys, preferred engagement channels, and the most successful campaigns. With this information, we can create better-targeted campaigns and allocate our media budget more wisely.
Consumers' growing concern for environmental and ethical sustainability highlights the need to adopt ecologically sustainable projects. Carbon neutralization, improved production methods, and eco-friendly materials fall under this category. Customers are more likely to purchase from companies whose missions and philosophies are consistent with theirs. Showing customers how a brand is working to become more sustainable can have a major impact on the brand's image and consumers' purchasing decisions, even if no immediate results are achieved. The key is honesty and openness.
To achieve sustainability throughout its supply chain and operations, IKEA is one of the few companies that has gained global recognition. The company's sustainable policies win over employees, consumers, and other stakeholders. Nearly half of the wood used by the Swedish furniture maker comes from environmentally responsible sources. Likewise, its cotton suppliers are at risk. They all use organic farming methods that align with the Better Cotton Standards, which aim to reduce water pollution. The use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides is minimal. You can see IKEA's dedication to environmental protection whenever you visit a store. They use solar power, so the energy is completely pure. The distribution of solar panels to consumers in the United Kingdom and elsewhere is also in the works. IKEA stated in 2012 that by 2020, all its operations would be on renewable energy alone. As part of its attempts to become a more sustainable company, it has made strides in this direction.