By Cynthia Maxwell, Trend Forecasting
2016 at home purchasing experiences were full of flash sales, real time analytics, grocery delivery services, marketing through Facebook, “buy today, deliver today”, just to name a few… So it is no big surprise that the at home consumer has surpassed the in store shopper over the last few years. To the tune of 51% in 2016 compared to 48% in 2015. With the continued growth of at home purchasing, retailers will be challenged to find innovative ways to “romance” consumers both in store and online.
When we think of romancing the consumer a lot of ideas come to mind ie: enticing merchandising, promotions, bargains, private events etc.
But let’s think beyond all of the “go to” ideas and dive a bit deeper into some 2017 consumer trends that will attract long-term brand loyalty.
Honestly Connect with the Consumer
Consumers are reading labels, and have become more focused on what is in their products as well as how they are made. Companies should be prepared to not only answer ingredient and development questions, but could think about a transparent product life cycle i.e.… from source to production to store. This practice will help the consumer to identify the brand as authentic, acting as the foundation of maintaining and keeping the consumer.
You may be thinking right now…”How is this “romancing” the consumer? Well if you want the consumer to come back to purchase again and again, authenticity is imperative.
In the search to find the best organic non-GMO protein powder, I recently asked two companies on their Facebook pages about unfamiliar ingredients. Both companies replied to the Facebook post with detailed descriptions of each ingredient and how the ingredients affected the results of the product. As a consumer I was pleased with the integrity of the public response and the ingredient description.
The integrity of the product life cycle is also a growing trend. Hair and body care company Davines celebrates the farmers that supply an active ingredient in their hair care line Essentials, by placing the name of the farmer and the location of the farm on the front of the bottle. These active ingredients are from the Slow Food Foundation centre for Biodiversity, which aims to protect unique plant species, local traditions and craftsmanship.
The 2016 Global Study from Cohn & Wolfe, “Defines Authenticity in the Eyes of Consumers” Donna Imperato, CEO of Cohn & Wolfe,
“The rules of communication have irrevocably changed, and we’re seeing consumers reward brands that understand how to engage with them openly and honestly. In fact, consumers will forgive the occasional corporate misstep if a company is upfront, and addresses the issue head-on.
While we know that the consumer wants bargains, value and convenience all in one, retailers must take into account the mass amounts of products to choose from and create experiences around the brand, engaging and even entertaining the consumer.
Retailers are inviting consumers to an open blog that will create a community around a brand lifestyle. Consumers can discuss topics like food, design, beauty and health, giving them a sense of connection through sharing and conversation. Yes, this has been happening for a while, but people are spending more time in their homes, behind their devices, and the need to connect will become greater.
New touchscreen development from Tanvas uses surface haptic technology to create the realistic sense of touch. The technology allows the consumer to feel wavy, bumpy, fine, soft, and grainy textures. This is an ideal experience when purchasing products in the fashion and home furnishing categories.
In store visits are really becoming an “experience.” The consumer is able to touch, view and test the product but must place an order to purchase.
Augmented reality provides a virtual showroom that creates the shopping excitement consumers now long for.
Utilizing Instagram and Facebook to sell limited edition items that cannot be purchased any other way.
I will be discussing more ways to keep the consumer engaged this year but keep in mind that retail/product experiences simply can’t be dull.
What consumer experience is romancing me right now? Watching Fall 2017 runways live and then having the option to purchase items from the show, online, the same day. Burberry …….swoon!
Check back next month for more Trend Perspectives by Cynthia Maxwell!