Understanding consumer behaviour is an essential skill that can help you increase revenue, writes marketing manager Alyssa Brown from Two Cents Group. Here’s some titbits Brown has pulled together to help marketers get the most from consumers.
The rise of social media and the web has changed how consumers shop for products. Instead of relying on recommendations from friends over coffee, consumers are now turning to the web to get opinions from friends and others online.
This fundamental shift in consumer behaviour cannot be ignored. If your business is still turning a blind eye to social media and the web, you are at risk of becoming irrelevant.
In this article, we’ll help you better understand what is influencing your modern buyers and show you some strategies that can help you use this insight to grow your business.
1. Social media impacts consumer behaviour
Research by Bigcommerce found that 81 per cent of respondents said they were influenced by social media posts from their friends. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Social media is a communication tool we use as an extension of our day-to-day lives. It is simply an online medium that we use to express our opinions, thoughts and gripes.
The big difference in the old way you shared opinions and the new social media way is the reach. Consumers can reach all of their friends on Facebook with one post. This update can be liked and shared to hundreds more people via the single platform. Word of mouth is no longer restricted to the people in the room.
This is great news for you. It means that if you sell great products and deliver amazing experiences, your customers will do your marketing for you. They will share your products on Facebook, they will recommend you on Twitter and they will like your photos on Instagram.
Encourage your customers to share your content
Consumers trust content that has been shared by their friends. So instead of simply using social media to push out new products and content, empower your customers to share content themselves. Thirty percent of consumers are most likely to respond to branded offers shared by friends – because they trust their friends’ recommendations.
Use visual content to increase engagement
Photos and videos are the preferred mediums on social media. Consumers want engaging content that connects with them emotionally. Instead of using simple updates on social media, try to use images and videos to better communicate your messages. Bigcommerce research found that 44 per cent of consumers are most likely to engage with content that contains pictures and 37 per cent will engage with content that features video.
2. The web impacts consumer behaviour
The web has become the go-to resource for product research. In fact, the Bigcommerce study found that 9 out of 10 respondents watch videos about tech products they may buy. A separate study commissioned by GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81 per cent of buyers research online before going in store to purchase.
Consumers aren’t just using PCs to research products online; they’re also using their smartphones. Seventy-six percent of smartphone owners use their devices while shopping and fifty percent use their devices to check prices, promotions and reviews.
With this changing landscape, how do you keep up and influence buyers? Here are some ideas.
Product information is key
Consumers love to research products before they buy. No longer do they trust the opinions of salespeople. This means you need to help consumers by ensuring you have in-depth and accurate product information on your website. Provide consumers with the information they need to make a purchasing decision. By being the store that provides great product information, you’ll be in a great position to encourage consumers to buy from you when they are ready.
Your website needs a good mobile experience
Consumers are visiting your store on their mobile devices. You need a responsive website that is easy to use on mobiles, or you risk deterring consumers and forcing them to go to your competitors. The modern consumer is savvy – he or she will likely be researching on their phone while walking through your store. By making the user experience seamless, you’ll keep them on your site and have the opportunity to personalise offers during the purchase decision process.
3. Store features impact consumer behaviour
The study by Bigcommerce asked respondents what store features influence their purchase decisions. If you exclude the obvious factor – pricing – purchases are highly influenced by delivery speed, in-store pickup availability, rewards programs, reviews and education content.
If you can provide these nice-to-haves that extend the customer experience, you’ll be able to influence purchase decisions and drive more sales.
The three influences that really stand out to me are delivery speed, in-store pickup and rewards. As a business competing online, here are some ideas to help you offer these features.
Source a delivery company that can guarantee fast delivery. Innovative companies like Want it Now offer retailers fast three-hour delivery services.
Add the in-store pickup option to your online store. Give an employee the responsibility to fullfill these orders and arrange them for pickup at a designated spot inside your store.
There are plenty of products available to online retailers that let you set up loyalty programs and incentive sytems to encourage customers to come back and buy more from you. Sweet Tooth offers a customer loyalty product that integrates seamlessly with popular shopping carts like Magento, Shopify and Bigcommerce.
Grow your business by understanding consumer behaviour
Knowing what modern consumers want can help you influence their purchase decisions. The rise of social media and the web is making retail super competitive. To grow your business, you need to provide enhanced experiences for the modern customer.