“You are what you buy” consumer behavior report

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“You are what you buy” consumer behavior report

The way consumers search for information about products and brands is changing. Social media are beginning to play an increasingly important role in it. When consumers decide to make a purchase, it doesn’t have to be made online. However, in order for a purchase to occur in a traditional store, it is necessary to provide customers with an experience similar to the one they know from the online channel. New technologies that enable streamlined shopping experiences both online and in a stationary store will help.

The above conclusions are some of the highlights brought by the “You are what you buy” report prepared by Publicis Groupe CEE and GWI. You can find there: how consumers buy, where they buy (online vs. offline), why they buy and more.

The importance of social commerce

The way we search for information about products and brands is changing. We are less and less likely to look for information about specific products on online search engines, while more and more often we simply discover news and get inspired. Social media plays an important role in this process. This change is being driven primarily by the younger generations, although older ones are beginning to behave in a similar way as well.

Social media is thus beginning to become as important as online search engines when it comes to brand discovery. And as the report’s authors believe, this trend is unlikely to change in the near future. So companies need to adapt to what matters to consumers and create inspiring social media content and engaging social commerce campaigns.

It’s also worth paying attention to customer reactions and feedback, especially if you’re selling products to younger people – 1 in 5 representatives of Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2012) say they’re more likely to buy a product with lots of likes and positive comments than one with fewer or none. To increase social commerce conversions, you can add a “Buy” button in content published on social media.

Online vs. offline purchases

Retail chains should provide their customers with a consistent omnichannel experience. Consumers in the vast majority do not intend to limit themselves to one channel and want to take advantage of the best that both traditional and online stores have to offer. When they shop in a stationary store, they want the experience to be as seamless and convenient as when they shop online.

Convenience is just as important to consumers as excellent service. It is extremely important to minimize waiting times and provide customers with the most tailored experience possible. They strongly prefer a personalized experience to one that is generic and targeted to everyone.

For younger generations, tailored recommendations are important when shopping online, and one should use personalized marketing strategies to offer them relevant products and promotions. On the other hand, the baby boomers generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are primarily concerned with security and convenience when shopping online. In their case, it’s worth focusing on, among other things, diverse and secure payment methods or a transparent return policy to build trust and confidence in their choice.

For baby boomers, it is also particularly important for online stores to offer diverse delivery options – same-day delivery and next-day delivery have become very important among them since 2021.

When shopping offline, Generation Z and millennials (or Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 1995) would like to see products or some kind of demo, but at the same time they also want to interact with in-store staff. So it should be important to offer them an experience where they can check or try things on by themselves, and the staff is ready to help them fit and choose them.

When visiting a traditional store, younger generations want a personalized experience, while baby boomers and Generation X (people born between 1965 and 1980) expect convenience and security there. Important to them are short queues (or their lack of), accessible store locations, highly visible product signage or thoughtful spacing in the store. It is also important to them to be rewarded for choosing a particular store, i.e. to be awarded points in loyalty programs. The latter improve the customer experience during both offline and online shopping.

Leveraging new technologies

New technologies can improve both online and in-store shopping experiences. Companies with online stores have already begun to use generative artificial intelligence to help with customer inquiries during particularly busy times (such as black friday). AI-based recommendations and quick responses to inquiries help increase conversions.

In brick and mortars, on the other hand, robots with artificial intelligence algorithms help the store operate more efficiently. For example, they pick up products from the warehouse and place them on the store’s shelves. This helps ensure a smooth shopping experience and reduce queues. Using innovative solutions in stores to provide a fast and convenient shopping experience helps encourage shoppers to return to the store.

Impulse shopping

Retailers need to “stay close” with their customers to understand why they buy from them. And remember that consumers do not always act rationally, and often on impulse. The economic crisis is causing more and more emotion-driven purchases. Especially among younger generations, who are more optimistic about their financial situation.

Two-thirds of Generation Z live with their parents, so they save on rent, among other things, and have more money to spend. Millennials, on the other hand, at the highest rate of all generations, believe that impulse buying helps cope with stress – so they buy products under the influence of emotions to feel better about the whole situation.

Worth noting – 47% of impulse shoppers say that taking advantage of sales or bargains is the most important reason for them to spend money.

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