How Brands Can Better Serve Increasingly Elastic Customers

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Two years into the pandemic, a slightly more fiscally cautious consumer has emerged. However, overall (and somewhat surprisingly), consumers’ preferences and habits are more similar to what we were used to seeing pre-pandemic, despite a few minor changes in impulsivity and propensity to shop online that seem to be here to stay. 

One of the many things the pandemic has demonstrated is the elasticity of consumers – they’ll continue to consume and ‘snap back’ to their preferred methods, albeit with some new expectations. 

This is what businesses need to know about the elastic consumer and how they can shift practices to best serve their customers in 2022.

Expedite the journey to tackle logical reasons driving consumers to buy 

With 44% of Americans planning to shop online the same amount or more this year in comparison to 2021, brands need to eliminate any roadblocks in the path to purchase. In addition, almost one in every five shoppers (18%) is debating longer over their purchases than ever before, so expediting the consumer journey will give them fewer excuses to abandon their carts. 

While people will never stop buying products that fulfill their basic needs, competition is increasing. Brands should understand where consumers are going, both in their stores and their competitors’ stores, to make the most of changing behavior and maintain market share. Almost half (43%) of Americans classify themselves as ‘bargain hunters,’ and driving loyalty will be more challenging than ever before. Savvy advertisers will make sure they stay at the forefront by delivering brand awareness campaigns that help them maintain and grow their share of voice.

Advertisers making the omnichannel journey as effective as possible will be top of mind this year. With 72% of shoppers checking their phones when shopping in-store, brands can’t miss out on the chance to sway the bargain hunter and start securing relationships to drive loyalty. 

The psychology of consumers does buying make people happy?

With 40% of Americans feeling happy to go out and shop for what they want, brands can now capitalize on the joy that in-person shopping brings after over two years of uncertainty and caution. In addition, a quarter of shoppers also find it easier to decide whether they want to buy a product if they see it in person, which can help increase conversion rates. 

In-store experiences can make a lot of difference, as a third of American consumers are willing to recommend a brand after having a good in-store experience. So, make sure the experience lives up to that expectation and turns customers into brand advocates. 

Over half of consumers (58%) say that they prefer shopping in-store, so businesses should double down on what motivates that preference. For many shoppers, it’s the immediacy of being able to walk out with the item they want right there and then. 

The majority (56%) of shoppers are also more willing to visit a store after seeing an ad served to them in proximity to the location. Therefore, brands should consider integrating store finders into their ads and reach shoppers with messaging that emphasizes the lack of wait times and the ability to leave with what they want on the spot. 

A more empathetic consumer is here 

If there is one thing that shifted for all of us during the pandemic, it’s our perspective on what’s most important in life. Consumers are looking for a more authentic connection, leading to a more selfless way of thinking. If, on the one hand, people got used to clicking and collecting and next-day deliveries, on the other hand, they also became more understanding of supply chain issues affecting delivery times. 

After the pandemic, we found out that 64% of American shoppers would wait longer to receive a product if that means supporting a business they like. So, make sure to over-communicate and compensate the consumer with valuable content that appeals to their sense of loyalty and makes them feel invested in your success. 

Since the pandemic started, the psychological context has significantly affected behavior. Consumers are increasingly becoming more selective in what they do and where they go based on their feelings. Turning consumers into shoppers is never one and done. Instead, it is a work made of pieces of various psychological elements that gives meaning to shoppers over time.

Gil Larsen is Managing Director, US, at Blis.