New user behaviours suggest a shift in shopping mindset
“The idea of not being able to meet in person is changing the way we give the gift of joy,” MediaMonks Founder Wesley ter Haar told the audience in his recent talk at Adweek’s Commerce Week event. “This is where ecommerce is changing at scale, not just people buying more and feeling comfortable buying online.” For example, people aren’t just buying online more; 61% of UK consumers say the pandemic will change how they shop, with 38% of UK shoppers using mobile retail apps, according to Google.
This shift in the way people connect through the holidays represents a massive opportunity for brands to differentiate the customer decision journey through indelible shopping experiences. It’s easier than ever for brands to go full direct to consumer (DTC), reclaiming the customer relationship and strengthening it. “What used to be a 24-month process of digital transformation suddenly happened so much faster, in six weeks sometimes,” ter Haar noted.
Brands that already established their own ecommerce platform in time for the festive season may be one step ahead, but they must remain on the lookout for ways to deliver brand promise throughout the shopping experience. Apart from content, customer loyalty can be attained by having a few things in mind: the need to communicate throughout the entire process, from order to delivery, both to inform customers of any delays and to drum up excitement for the new purchase. These are great ways of creating an emotional connection with a brand and it’s the most celebratory season, after all.
Combining content and commerce for added relevance
Online shopping is no longer channel-specific, and in addition to building a robust DTC platform, brands can further build loyalty, drive engagement and inspire conversions through shoppable and original content, reaching audiences whether they are in ‘buying-mode’ or not.
Building integrated brand presence across all platforms has been pivotal for some time now, but the line between content and commerce is blurring. As this happens, one thing is key: to keep it natural. Shoppable content needs to feel organic and comfortable for the consumer, rather than a hard sell.
Influencer partnerships are one simple way to offer that authenticity. Amazon Live, for example, brings brands and influencers together to not only inform the shopping experience, but to entertain. But it’s not just ecommerce sites that are becoming more social; content platforms are introducing new shopping features as well, like Instagram Live Shopping or YouTube’s integration with Shopify.
Another great example is the rising popularity of immersive shopping based on AR technology, which, in addition to enabling customers to ‘try before they buy’, can help create entertaining and shareable experiences that increase their purchase confidence. In other words, brands are increasing their efforts in finding their audience in new places and taking full advantage of the time they spend online, virtualizing the shopping experience in the process and connecting it with social opportunities.
Over the past few months and into the holiday season, it’s become clear just how much consumer shopping behaviour has changed. Now is the time for brands to build real connections with audiences through connected, relevant and differentiated digital experiences. And because there’s no turning back now, brands who enable such experiences will be better equipped to reach consumers well into 2021 and the rest of the decade.