Masks are off, but Covid-19 profoundly affected consumer behavior. The lockdown made customers search for alternatives to meet their needs without visiting brick-and-mortar shops. And the use of technology to enhance customer experience skyrocketed during this period.
Since consumer behavior is ever-changing, your business must identify these changes so you can tailor your offerings to the way customers buy. This way, you can continue to generate revenue and keep your customers happy. After all, happy customers make great businesses.
Are you looking for ways to put a broad smile on your customer’s face? Here are some behavioral patterns to keep in mind.
Increased emphasis on health and wellness
The pandemic still has its traces all over us, even after 2020. Since it has been proven that one can contract a deadly disease through handshakes or close physical contact, such an experience registers in your mind unconsciously.
Consumers have started taking better responsibility for their health and even increased interest in subjects like stress, personal care, nutrition and fitness. Research shows that consumers now spend more on health-related products and services while also researching the impact of their habits on their general well-being.
The health and wellness niche will grow to 7 trillion by 2025. So if you’re in this niche, it’s time to double your efforts to reap all the benefits there.
Accelerated shift to e-commerce and contactless transactions
The greatest nightmare of a consumer in 2023 is a trip to the bank to get cash. They’d rather pay with debit cards, credit cards or digital wallet apps accessible through smartphones or smartwatches.
In 2022, contactless payments increased by 49.7 percent among Brits, reducing trips to physical shops.
Since the touch-and-go system is faster, more convenient and enjoyable, consumers are gaining more confidence in contactless transactions. With security measures like encryption and fraud prevention, customers can pay for products with peace of mind.
Greater emphasis on sustainable and ethical consumption
Consumers are concerned about whether buying goods or services from your company doesn’t hurt the environment, society or the economy. A single tweet about the unethical practices of a new business can burn it to the ground. Even giant companies are greatly affected when news of unfair practices spreads.
For example, Facebook (now Meta) has been accused several times of its privacy issues, and this history heavily affected its pivot into the Metaverse. The project had to slow down because consumers lacked trust in the company to secure data.
Consumers want to patronize companies that value human rights, use environmentally friendly practices, shun discrimination and harassment. Even Nike has raised ethical concerns on underage labor, the use of toxic chemicals production and gender discrimination. To protect their image, they were forced to improve their practices.
Increased importance of digital communication and connection
Consumers no longer have to talk to salespeople before buying a product. All it takes to decide is a Google search regardless of the user’s location. And it is those users that are found online that’ll gain a new influx of buyers.
54% of social media users have researched a product there. According to SimilarWeb, 88.6 million visits Google every month. You might lose customers if you have not built your business to gain visibility on these digital channels.
Beyond merely appearing on digital platforms, you need to leverage the consumer behavior data you’re getting to personalize customer experiences. Spotify and Netflix are winning the personalization game by using a consumer’s previous data to provide songs and movie suggestions. This has made their conversion rate skyrocket.
When you collect customer behavior data, use it to understand your target audience better so you can make better suggestions in the future.
Rise of the hybrid workforce and flexible working arrangements
Since the pandemic, companies have embraced hybrid working arrangements that have impacted consumer behavior.
58% of Americans work from home at least once every week, and 87% admit that they’ll take the opportunity to work flexibly if it occurs.
This has increased the number of people who shop locally. Hybrid workers prioritize creating a work/life balance that allows them to spend more time with family.
This means they shop more for home items, groceries and even furniture to make their homes suitable for work. Also, the work hours have become more flexible, so it’s difficult for businesses to determine when consumers close.
Building your business with relevant local recognition will help you gain visibility among this emerging community of hybrid workers.
The rise of voice-activated assistants
Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are taking the forefront of how consumers research their needs. Over 50% of the the world’s population have used a voice assistant at least once, and this is considering the different economic situations across countries.
However, the percentage of users is higher in the US, with half of the country owning a voice assistant. The convenience of using voice commands on smartphones or smart speakers has affected the e-commerce space.
This is because most people make their inquiries the way they speak rather than how they type. Only the websites pay attention to how users search using voice assistants that will be visible when looking for solutions.
A Highly Recommended Read: Business Blogging: How to Optimize For Voice Search
Increased adoption of augmented and virtual reality
Although many are still unaware of the impact of augmented and virtual reality, it is a way that businesses can offer an immersive shopping experience to customers and proactively track consumer behavior. With AR devices, prospects can visualize how a product will fit into their lives before purchasing.
Instead of making a trip to a physical store, customers can experience products from the convenience of their homes and even have the opportunity to test them before they buy.
77% of consumers say they’re interested in using AR to interact with a product, while 40% are even willing to pay more if they can experience it through AR.
Investing in 3D assets can help you increase conversion rates, boost customer retention, and stand out from the competition, especially in e-commerce. Using virtual try-on solutions, virtual showrooms, camera filters and AR mirrors for in-store shopping are some great ways to create an immersive experience.
Consumers are tilting toward a more digital way of experiencing products and purchasing. Although physical experiences are still relevant in most cases, it is businesses that prioritize the digital game that would take home gold.
Invest in ethical practices, make contactless transactions seamless, and prioritize building a solid digital experience to appeal to the 2023 consumer.