The Internet and evolving technologies have created the evolution of consumer behavior throughout this century. The changes in customer behaviors driven by digital developments as seen as offering the biggest opportunities and challenges that businesses also need to deal with.
The more you know about your customer behaviors, the easier you engage with them. This is the key to get more sales and develop your business.
How have consumer behaviors changed in the digital age? More importantly, what does your business can do to win in an increasingly digitalized world?
Keep reading, and you will find the answers!
1. How does purchasing journey of customers change over time?
Under the traditional Marketing Funnel model, customers begin with an awareness of the product and brand. After that, they eventually go through several steps to buy the product and become loyal customers. The marketer’s job here is to identify the stage the consumer is in and drive customers to purchase.
However, with a massive amount of decision power and information unlocked by the internet, customers no longer interact with companies through linear paths described above.
In 2009, McKinsey created a new model called The Consumer Decision Journey to explain consumer behavior. This model includes four main stages: Initial Consideration, Active Evaluation, Moment of Purchase, and Post-Purchase Experience. The striking feature of this new model is that it shows a much more iterative customer’s decision process via a Loyalty Loop.
The Marketing Funnel model and McKinsey’s Journey are the most popular marketing frameworks which have been preached by countless online courses and used by businesses ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small e-commerce stores. However, both of them are being challenged by digital acceleration.
Engage in the new accelerated purchasing journey
The digital evaluation has made it easier for shoppers to explore, educate, and empower themselves throughout their decision-making journey. This journey is up to them and can only be supported or influenced, not directed.
One of the most significant limitations of the two previous marketing models is that they are too slow.
In these days and age, customers are bombarded with a ton of information every day over the internet, and their attention span has run-downed quickly. Instead of spending multiple days or hours on the purchasing journey, customers can move from awareness to buying decision just after a few minutes or seconds.
They are too busy to spend their time and energy to evaluate the merits of one item over another. They grab or click their favorite products and move on. Modern customers can move back-and-forth between phases of the purchasing journeys and sometimes skip stages entirely to meet their needs.
Increasingly use mobile devices for shopping activities
Consumers are spending a tremendous amount of money on online shopping via their mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets make significant changes in the way customers interact with retailers.
Interestingly, customers use their mobile devices for a variety of online shopping activities such as researching product features, locating a store, etc. The shoppers also use their smartphones to compare prices, download coupons, scan a QR code, etc. while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
Besides, customers are attracted strongly to mobile applications with relevant and compelling content and information such as detailed product descriptions, images, personalized offers, etc.
Raise expectations for retailers
The digital age is creating a customer service reformation, which is radical and being driven by shoppers. Today, customers have more choices and face fewer problems when buying goods and services than before, but they are more likely to make complaints when something goes wrong.
In other words, customers are less tolerant than they used to be, and it is harder for stores to meet their wants and needs.
Customers are increasingly using omnichannel to interact with brands. For example, they search for the product online, come to physical stores to make purchases, share reviews through mobile apps, and raise questions for your support team via social media networks. Each customer has his favorite touchpoints that he want to use to connect with stores.
2. What factors influence buying decisions?
Speed and convenience
Customers want to simplify the beginning-to-end processes that they undergo to get the product or service they need, across whichever channels they select. For instance, a customer will leave your page immediately if he could not find his favorite product within two search attempts.
Shoppers are willing to abandon you if your checkout process is too complicated asking too many efforts and including several page redirections. Customers expect seamless experiences with retailers. When customers have unsatisfied with your stores, they will probably not come back to your store no matter how much you bombard them with ads.
Before customers make buying decisions, they often read reviews to hear about the experience of people like them. Customers do not just have a glance at your online reviews to see the total of reviews you have or the overall star rating. They dig deep into the content of the review to find out detailed information about your customer experience.
Customers do trust and are highly influenced by online reviews. They are willing to pay for the product if they are assured of having a great experience with that product. Hence, online reviews can be a great marketing tool to push a potential customer from consideration stage to purchasing decisions.
Influencers and bloggers
We now live in a connected world where people can easily follow the brands and influencers whom they trust and admire to create their own opinion regarding a product or service.
An influencer can be famous people or an everyday person who has a feature that helps him stand out from others and makes consumers want to follow him. In these days, some customers have more confidence in what is said by a blogger than what is said directly by the brand via an advertisement. Eventually, they use ad blockers on their devices to avoid being interrupted by ads.
Influencer or bloggers often post about their everyday life, asks the followers about their opinions, and can interact directly with them. More importantly, the influencers have the same age group, interests, and behaviors as their target audience.
Hence, they become credible, attractive, and accessible to the audiences.and can easily shape and influence the opinion of their followers. That is why many customers make purchases based on influencer recommendations.
3. How to adapt to the changes in customer behaviors?
Reach the subconscious mind of customers
As mentioned above, a lot of customers now make purchasing decisions instinctively in just a few seconds via a click. They want to shorten their purchasing journeys and don’t like waiting.
How can you get your consumers to select your brand right away? The answer is making a positive impression that reaches them on the subconscious level. Brand perception is one of the most effective ways to seduce consumers' subconscious minds.
This means that businesses need to make sure that at the moment people look at your brand, positive thoughts, images, experiences, and feelings associated with your brand will come to their minds and motivate them to buy the product of the company. To do that, businesses need to build brands that capture attention but also link to a positive emotional reaction.
For example, providing useful, relevant information for customers via the right content marketing strategy is one of the best and the most effective ways to build brand awareness. In the digital age, great content can be seen as the heart of a successful marketing campaign.
The better you manage content well, the more positive effect it offers to the development of the company. If you are looking for great solution packages for content management, Magento 2 Content Management extensions are here to help you!
Prioritize customer-centric design
In modern marketing, you no longer pour your money and effort to advertise the product and wait for the customers to come. Now is the time to make products with and for specific customers.
Not only providing information to help customers evaluate the product, but the business also needs to focus on delivering that information in the shortest amount of time to the most targeted customer group at the right time, in the right place.
The only way to do that is by using technology. It is cheaper and more comfortable for even non-technical marketers to use machine learning and artificial intelligence platform every day. Take advantage of these technologies and raise your marketing to the next level.
One of the useful applications of machine learning is personalized marketing, which can be a huge boon for both retailers and customers. For example, in case a person browses an item, but didn’t purchase it, these reminders will appear as ads on other websites he visits or is delivered via email.
If you are wondering how to email to customers about their abandoned cart, encourage them to come back and complete the checkout, it is advisable for you to use Mageplaza Abandoned cart email.
Being authentic and genuine is the key to gain success in modern marketing. You can not attain real authenticity until everyone in your company genuinely care about what you build and align with your identity.
Hence, not only the marketing department but also every department from customer service to R&D in the company need to obsess about the customer journey.
By making the needs and wants of customers to the organization's central orientation point, businesses can deliver a seamless customer experience which is the must-have condition for them to adapt to the changes in customer behaviors driven by the constant development of technology.
Deliver a superior experience
As mentioned above, customers' expectations are rising significantly. Now they are open to exploring multiple brands and willing to leave your brand if they get the wrong experience during their shopping journeys.
Therefore, optimizing customer experiences should be the central focus of every business. More importantly, in the digital age, customers increasingly value their online experiences, so it is ideal for the company to improve digital customer experiences.
Digital transformation offers businesses tremendous opportunities to engage modern customers and deliver a seamless customer experience regardless of channel and place. It is also the reason why consumer behavior has changed profoundly and consistently.
Keeping up with rapid changes in customer behaviors is a challenging task for every business. The critical responses with the changes are putting customers at the center of your business strategy and using advanced technology to stay in tune with the new changes.
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