Why Your Brand Needs to Constantly Innovate to Win Customers
Shopper Promiscuity is a defining characteristic of the shopping landscape, and one of the driving factors behind it is that today’s shoppers expect brands to constantly innovate. Your customers are trained to believe that there will always be something new, so they’re naturally always on the hunt for something better than what they bought last time. While brands need to constantly adapt to changing shopper preferences, they also need to constantly innovate within their product lines to stay in a state of constant acquisition. Alter Agents CEO Rebecca Brooks discusses this dynamic in an article for Forbes, titled “Why Brands Need To Constantly Innovate To Win Shoppers.”
Brands Trained Shoppers Like This
Shoppers didn’t arrive at this state by themselves. Brands have spent untold billions of dollars developing and marketing new products with cutting-edge tech and fancier features. That search for newness has completely penetrated the consumer psyche to become a principal driver. Our Shopper Influence Research study found that 76 percent of shoppers want to be as informed as possible when making a purchase decision. That figure would not be so high if they were content to repurchase the last item they picked up. As Rebecca puts it: “From the cars they drive to the fast-fashion on their backs to the phones in their pockets, every purchase cycle for virtually every thing brings the promise of a better option.”
Expanding Access Reinforced the Trend
Another driver of Shopper Promiscuity is expanded access: the set of products that can be considered has grown dramatically. So even if there hasn’t been a real change in a category since the last time a shopper browsed, they’ll still likely find something new to them. Whether we chalk that up to more ecommerce or more agile traditional retail, the effect is the same: shoppers hardly have to look for something new because it’ll be there.
Social Media Accelerated the Frenzy
Social media kicked the hunt for something new into overdrive. The constant content machine is effectively a firehose by which shoppers can passively consume information about what their networks are doing and buying. It’s a more accessible version of word of mouth, and it’s powerful. Shoppers don’t need to be actively conducting research to be learning about the market.
The social media influencer industry feeds the dynamic even more, Rebecca writes. “Because these influencers constantly need to produce content to feed the machine and stay relevant with their followers, they need a constant stream of products, features, and experiences to talk about. That means they’re looking for new innovations to showcase, pressuring brands to provide and feeding Shopper Promiscuity in the process.”
So if your competitors’ innovation fuels Shopper Promiscuity and raises your customers’ expectations, how do you keep up? Rebecca offers the following:
- Meet your shoppers’ needs. Innovation should result in products that meet a need that the shopper has in their life. You can create something new and shiny to try and create that need, but solid revenue drivers have a clear value proposition in line with the shopper’s lived experience.
- Get inspiration from current customers. Your existing customers are your perfect product testers. Talk to them about what they’ve bought from you and get a sense of what’s working and what needs work. You might just mint some evangelists in the process.
- Consider unexpected disruption. Constant innovation begets creative destruction, and we never know from where the next big disruption will come. Having an innovation process that’s nimble and encouraged to be rule-breaking is important to withstand the unpredictable.
We’re experts at understanding how shoppers make their decisions and advising brands and marketers on strategies to influence those decisions. If you’re looking to take your team to the next level and win customers, we’d love to talk.
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