Russell Godin is the Regional Director – APAC at Attraqt. In this piece, he explains how marketers must shift their mindset in order to succeed in 2021.
By now, we’ve all seen the statistics; Covid-19 has transformed life as we know it. From the work-from-home phenomenon to the grounding of the airline industry, the shift has been seismic and sudden.
Covid-19 has hit retail incredibly hard. As a result, consumer expectations and interactions have changed. Last year, between March and September, more than one million new Australian households shopped online. This, of course, brought with it a huge opportunity for brands large and small.
eCommerce rose to the challenge
The world as we knew it turned on its head in 2020 and eCommerce quickly accelerated to become the hero of the hour. When bars were forced to close, they took martini orders online. When shelves were stripped bare, toilet paper became an eCommerce commodity. At a time of uncertainty, eCommerce was able to offer familiarity, convenience and safety.
With the UK and much of Europe still in severe and ongoing lockdown, Australia is doing better than most. Restaurants and pubs are full and shopping centres are alive with activity. The question is, what happens now? How can brands sustain this pandemic-induced evolution; ensuring online and brick-and-mortar operations work in harmony in 2021 and beyond?
It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it
Our data suggests the way consumers act online is changing. In fact, 62 per cent of Aussies go to online stores for research and browsing purposes. As we become accustomed to window-shopping-online, purely transactional moments are becoming a thing of the past.
Consumers now increasingly expect the ‘theatrics’ of in-store shopping at the click of a mouse. With online sales showing no signs of slowing, brands must respond. The focus must be on understanding human behaviour and, more importantly, its context.
Context is king
Context is key to providing relevance in 2021. It’s not enough to simply personalise a user’s experience by presenting them with products and offers which appear relevant on the surface. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Brands must instead recognise that only one in ten (13 per cent) Australians are sure of what they’re looking for online. The inspiration provided by brands is therefore critical to consumer decision-making. For the marketer this means being able to identify and predict the needs of the consumer – customising the experience to the shopper’s intentions.
Content hasn’t lost its crown – yet
Our research found that consumers crave content, and its place on the path-to-purchase is still very much embedded into the online experience. However, without relevancy and context, content alone is counterproductive. For the marketer, it’s all about finding the right moment, for the right customer, within the right experience to deliver meaningful content.
As such, almost a third (30 per cent) of shoppers cited retailer content, such as articles and guides, as useful. At the same time however, almost half (45 per cent) of Aussies did not enjoy shopping online last year – meaning marketers have a big challenge ahead of them to get the balance of content right in 2021.
There are no silver marketing bullets
Marketers must walk the line to understand exactly where the customer is in their buying journey; what is needed to progress them; as well as the context and intent of their shopping session.
Play by your own rules
Online channels present brands with an opportunity to reach new demographics, deliver unique customer experiences and complement brick and mortar environments. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario.
The journey to discovery, delight and, ultimately, purchase relies on delivering an experience that’s both relevant to consumers and meets the commercial goals of a company. In 2021 and beyond, brands will need to take the leap from understanding ‘what people buy’ to ‘why people buy’.
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