Times of uncertainty and change continue into the first week of June. Consumers continue to worry about the effects COVID-19 will have on their future, and are now seeing violence erupt around the country following the death of George Floyd and our country’s continued struggle with racism. So how does that continued uncertainty and turmoil affect consumer behavior?
Stay-at-home orders around the country, related to COVID-19, brought a spike in online sales, curbside pickup and at home delivery services. Walmart recently announced that they will be offering a new Express delivery service. Customers can pay an extra $10 to have their purchases delivered to their doorstep in two hours or less. This is in direct response to two key trends: consumers loathe friction, and consumers want one-stop solutions.
The article from the Robin Report, Will Retail Become Like The Airline Industry?, continues to explain that the move “signifies something profound — namely, that the “experience” of retail is becoming less and less important with each passing Covid day.” That is ultimately the connection Chris Walton, the author, makes to the airline industry – the transition from the days of Mad Men-like executive travel to today’s low-priced shuttle services between cities.
SIA Take: Humans will always crave experiences, but as Walton put it, if it can be ”done more easily digitally, then why should any of us assume that the experience of shopping should win out over all the other experiential options out there, like eating, going to a museum, playing with the kids, etc.?” Is there a way to create a connection, an experience, even inspiration; but still be the cheapest and most convenient shopping option?
And as much as consumers LOVE easy solutions and friction-less retail experiences, like delivery services, they still crave the human connection of local Mom & Pop shops. On Monday, The Robin Report published Mom & Pop and Hope, a great piece on how local businesses define communities and what their reopening signals to consumers and communities.
“After a hurricane or earthquake or terrorist attack, the first tentative sign of a return to normalcy is the reopening of the neighborhood shops and markets. When Mom & Pop merchants demonstrate their hopefulness for the future, they are signaling the rest of us to begin to rebuild our routine.”
This feels especially relevant right now as many local businesses, Mom & Pop merchants, are starting to clean up and reopen after protests and violence following the death of George Floyd.
Another trend relating to brand loyalty and connection is spotlighted in a recent post from Klaviyo, an email marketing platform. Their recent article, Why Amazon’s Challenges and a Human Need for Connection Are Driving Shoppers to DTC Brands, shares a shift in consumer purchase habits towards direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands.
“Now is the opportunity for DTC brands to leverage best practices and take advantage of cost-efficient media opportunities. DTC fashion brands can explore building an emotional connection with their customers, where Amazon is somewhat limited in that aspect due to the size of the company compared to some competitors,” said Mark Zamuner, CEO at growth consultancy at Two Nil.”
SIA Take: During uncertain times, consumers turn to and spend their dollars with the brands that they can trust. The brands that represent their values and beliefs, that make them feel connected and a part of the solution. Creating compelling brand stories that are tailored for your exact target consumer/shopper will greatly help this connection. During crisis, consumers are even more hungry for narrative storytelling from their favorite brands. Consider how you can bring this to life in a visual format, and position these stories across your key social media channels.
More highlights on the way next Thursday. Please let us know if there’s something specific you’d like for us to include in our weekly Consumer Behavior Pulse.