State of the Consumer: Exploring Critical Influences on Today's Shopper
The digitization of the consumer world has transformed the way people shop, respond to advertising, and purchase from particular brands. The new hyperconnected consumer has a multitude of choices that are all available instantly, if desired. In this revolutionary state, a new set of drivers is impacting buying decisions and shopping behaviors. Today, everyone is guided by an underlying set of core personal values, and those values are reinforced by social causes, advice from those around them, and prominent bloggers.
In our latest State of the Consumer Report, our data experts at Resonate examined four distinct audience segments that collectively represent the major underlying influences behind today’s consumer purchases: activist shoppers, personal values shoppers, advice-seeking shoppers, and blog-obsessed shoppers. Here’s what we found.
We looked at three different types of activist shoppers: people who say their top corporate value is the environment, people who value how charitable a company is, and people who do business with companies that do ethical things like taking good care of their employees. Not surprisingly, the activist shopper is very much focused on how people are treated. They accept people who are different and celebrate their individuality.
To connect with these shoppers, brands need to authentically take a stand on the issues that align with their customers, learn what’s most important to them, and focus their social and charitable programs on those values. If your company has a strong environmental record, for example, reach the environmental shopper with messaging focused on good health and appreciating the outdoors. If your brand wants to win over the ethics shopper, use themes of trust, respect and compassion for humanity. The charitable shopper will also gravitate toward messages celebrating people’s individuality and accepting people’s differences.
Personal Values Shoppers
Our report analyzed consumers who fit into four broad categories of personal values: openness to change, self-enhancement, conservation, and self-transcendence. Having a deeper understanding of what makes these consumers tick helps retailers attract, engage and convert them.
Personal values play a significant role in people’s emotional responses to advertising and their decision-making processes. Therefore, your messaging and creative should speak to those values. The openness to change consumer will respond to messages of living an exciting life and celebrating their individuality and creativity. The self-enhancement shopper is all about success and luxury, so they'll gravitate to brands and retailers that help them fulfill those goals. The conservation consumer is a traditionalist, so focus on dependability and safety. And the self-transcendence consumer is the humble optimist, so connect with them through messages about family and friends, as well as celebrating and accepting people’s differences.
Our report also provides deep insights into consumers who are devout readers of product review sites and people who seek the advice of family and friends before making purchases. Clearly, the review shopper will look for product reviews on retailers’ websites. Encourage honest reviews. Your brand will gain credibility by not removing the less-than-stellar ones from its website, and they may help guide your product strategy and development. Your messaging to these consumers should focus on how they can get back to living their best life when they have product reviews that take the stress out of making tough purchase decisions.
For brands with a loyal following, incentivize customers to bring in their friends and family, but don’t make it too challenging to achieve that incentive. Once you make contact with those new shoppers, your messaging to them should be about trust and reliability.
Finally, our report delved into the motivations of people who read the top health blogs, fashion blogs and mom blogs. Brands that want to connect with blog readers need to understand the nuances between the different types of content.
Health blog readers value getting rewarded for purchases, prefer easy return options, and want the whole shopping experience to be enjoyable. The fashion blog reader is a harder nut to crack. They’re not only driven by blog content, but also their instinct and loyalty to certain brands. Fashion brands should connect with customers and prospects by focusing on themes of living a full and healthy life as well as compassion for others. The mom blog reader will respond well to a rewards program, as well as a brand with an emphasis on the sustainability of its products.
Ericka Podesta McCoy is chief marketing officer of Resonate, a consumer intelligence platform that helps build strong relationships between people and brands and agencies.
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