Four Things You Need to Know About Your Customers
Recently, our CEO and Founder Rebecca Brooks joined the “Getting to Aha!” podcast with Darshan Mehta to discuss “Why Customers Act the Way They Do.” During the episode, they discussed our new book, Influencing Shopper Decisions: Unleash the Power of Your Brand to Win Customers, and some of the themes that we’ve uncovered that have to do with things like: improving customer experience; shopping behavior; consumer truths; brand loyalty (or lack thereof); innovation; and much more.
Here are four things that they covered that are affecting the behavior and needs of customers in nearly every product category. Brands need to be aware of the shifting shopping landscape, as well as how to future-proof based on shopper needs, in order to remain successful and competitive.
Brand Loyalty is in Serious Decline
Our Shopper Influence Research found that brand loyalty is in decline, especially among younger generations. In fact, while 64% of Boomers enter a category with a brand in mind, just 32% of Gen Z says the same. And while that number may rise slightly, Rebecca says that the younger generation is “never going to age into the behavior of boomers,” so “loyalty from now on is going to be incredibly hard to hold on to.”
But that doesn’t mean that the concept of the brand is irrelevant, Rebecca says. “Brand certainly still has a role, but it doesn’t have the dominant role that it did in the past,” she comments, pointing to categories like luxury fashion or sodas where the brand is still important. “Brand matters,” she concludes. “But is it going to drive the purchase decisions? Not the majority of them, not anymore.”
The Nature of Brand Identity is Changing
We also know that the nature of what we consider to be a brand’s identity is changing. In our book on shopper marketing, Influencing Shopper Decisions, we talk about how shoppers need to see a brand’s identity as part of a narrative that aligns with their own. Purchase decisions are becoming more personal, with 62% of all shoppers viewing the products they buy as a reflection of their personality.
So, Rebecca says, a brand’s identity has to become more encompassing. She told Darshan:
Brand identity isn’t just the product they put out or the ads they put out, but are they supporting that in every business decision that they make? Brand is packaging, it is advertising, and it is also who you are, what you stand for, how you are seen in the world, and how you handle controversy. How you talk about things that have gone wrong – all of that is part of the brand identity.
Shoppers Are Doing More Research Than Ever Before
Today’s shoppers are using an average of 10 sources for information about products before settling on one. That’s not just in high-consideration categories – it could be for a manual toothbrush. And for some categories that we’ve studied, that number is closer to twenty.
With so many sources in the mix, what we’ve found is that there is no defined path to purchase. People are researching so much and they bounce around from source to source and back again, so an orderly linear model just doesn’t fit reality. Part of the reason behind this is that technological advancements, like smartphones, have made accessing information at any time very easy. As Rebecca says, “If you have all this information at your fingertips, you don’t want to make a bad decision.”
Augmented Reality is a Major Opportunity
Augmented reality (AR) is a new frontier for brands and enjoys wider adoption than most people realize. Our work with Snapchat on augmented reality for advertising and shopping found that the technology can play a big part in making the customer experience more enjoyable, even if a shopper doesn’t actually recognize that they’re using it.
Augmented reality allows brands and shoppers to co-create the shopping experience in their unique environment, allowing for greater personalization. And we know that younger generations are comfortable with the concept and use it at high rates, meaning that the trend is here to stay.
Want to hear more about these themes and dive in to how to best reach your customers? Listen to the podcast here, or read our new book:
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