The Methods Consumers Use To Research and Purchase Products are Evolving, and Businesses Must be Prepared to Adjust Accordingly
The evolution of how customers interact with each other and brands online has become clear, no longer sticking to one place online when looking for information. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a huge boost in e-commerce, helping to set the path for digital marketing in 2022. Businesses still have an opportunity to take advantage of the emergent trends in consumer decision making.
Perhaps the largest trend businesses are taking advantage of is the movement away from brick-and-mortar stores towards a highly dynamic e-commerce environment, especially with the increasing demand for social media interactions. Again, this doesn’t mean people will only visit one place online; in fact, search engines are still a popular avenue to find the desired information.
Take Google for example; although social media has been gaining popularity, Google has still managed to maintain their position as a search engine leader. In January alone, there were over 89 billion visits to their website, in tandem with the 1 billion uses of Google Lens which allows users to search for information by scanning an image. All of this aids in the customer research and purchasing process. However, this does not guarantee a business will get traffic to their website; most consumers will only look at the first set of search results, meaning businesses will still need to utilise search engine optimisation.
A lot of this can be attributed to the rise of how platforms are evolving to help people engage with e-commerce, especially on social media. Instagram and TikTok have already begun taking steps to allow consumers to purchase goods directly off of their platforms, as seen by the Valentine’s live shopping experience and push towards creator support respectively. But, facilitating an experience alone will not guarantee engagement.
Businesses will also have to stand out by creating unique aesthetics for their brand image. A recent report from Tailwind identified key design trends, with three of the following showing rapid popularity:
- “Outdoors are in” – This refers to the increasing demand for natural, organic looks, partly due to the fact many countries were stuck inside for the better half of two years.
- “Bold Possibilities” – Quite uniquely, this looks at attempting to try new things which haven’t been done before
- “A touch of Nostalgia” – There has also been an increasing demand for nostalgic designs, and how best for brands to integrate retro designs into their assets. This includes looking at the “Jet Set” era of the 60s and 70s, as well as the colours of the 90s.
All of this then begs the question, why are all of these interactions happening? This can all boil down to the demand for new experiences, as well as a new status quo in behaviour post pandemic. Given the rapid increase in attention e-commerce has received, businesses will want to make sure their website not only stands out, but also fits in with consumer consumption habits.
Social media has also evolved away from simply acting as a small extension of a business to evolving into a central point of contact for consumers to develop relationships. Additionally, this also evolves communication methods, helping facilitate transactions and resolve conflicts in a more efficient manner. And above all, it’s simply a trend in evolution; as the information available online grows, so will the way these tools adapt in response.
The importance of these trends extends to how marketers are planning on increasing their spending by over 50% this coming year; if businesses don’t do the proper research into their target audience they could potentially detract from the overall consumer experience.
Additionally, following the trends indicates an understanding of how consumers perceive companies and brands, as well as highlighting the importance of voice in developing social platforms. A deeper knowledge of customer habits also enables businesses to respond to the myriad of issues which can occur, and without it will harm the brand image. All in all, an increased focus on socials means more insight into how customers will continue to engage with a business in the future.
The trends highlighted are important to follow, as it will allow businesses to stay up to date with their customers and form stronger connections. The growth of online presence and social interactions will not die down anytime soon, so businesses need to take steps now to make sure they’re ready for the upcoming surges.
Finally, for our previous #SocialShort, click here.