This last week in Chicago, the Path to Purchase Institute brought together a wide variety of practitioners and experts in the Commerce space to talk about trends and evolutions in shopper behavior. Focusing on understanding the "Post" Covid era consumer, speakers discussed the how, where and why of shopping today and what this means for brands and services. Below, you will find a summary of some of the trends Publicis is watching out for in 2022 and beyond.
Hyper Content Consumption
Lucie Green, founder of Light Years, surfaced the theme of the "hyper content era" that we are currently in. We are consuming content all the time, everywhere, at record levels. As new technology advances, the competition for consumers' attention will only continue to grow. Sporting events will become more interactive, self-driving cars will open up more time for content consumption, and virtual worlds will entice us to stay with game-based incentives. For marketers, this means not only do you have to ensure your content adds value to the experience they're immersed in but also allow them to quickly convert in a way that doesn't further interrupt that experience.
There is still so much opportunity within sustainability. While 96% of consumers want to live more sustainably, only 33% follow through when they get to the shelf (based on the Brands for Good Annual Survey) —either because items are too expensive, shoppers don't know where to start, or it's too inconvenient. As marketers, we need to use data to determine which of the nine sustainable behaviors resonate best with our target audience and utilize the right touchpoints to educate them on how a brand delivers against them, making their next decision at the shelf an easy one.
Gamification and the Next Era of Commerce
How do you drive store visits and purchases in the world today? What should that experience be in the physical and digital space of 2022 and beyond? As consumers live more of their life online, the future of retail is hybrid. Social is re-routing the path to purchase with Pinterest TV and YouTube live stream as two of the newest offerings. At the same time, the Metaverse is still nascent; brands need to consider how to drive interest and develop offerings that can be bought and used in a multi-verse. This gamification and the next era of Commerce discussion revolved around how to disrupt the old consumer engagement model. Offered as one solution: build a community around experiences that translate into purchases. Consumers collect experiences, attend events, or visit places and are rewarded with digital purchases that can be used online or live. Driving culture and cultivating experience is the new way to build brand love.
Psychological Myths to Undermine Retail
"The more things change, the more they stay the same." The way consumers shop and behave today are less likely to change than you think; it's more about how to interpret the changes that are happening as distinct phases. Dr. Chris Gray presented and "busted" four common myths omnichannel marketers believe:
Myth 1: Consumer Psychology is changing rapidly
The means (what they do) are more likely to change rapidly, but the motivations (why they do it) are more stable.
Myth 2: Shoppers don't think (i.e. category is commoditized, shopped on auto-pilot, driven by price)
There is no such thing as an emotionally neutral experience, so dig deep to find that connection and build around it.
Myth 3: Consumer attention spans are shorter than those of goldfish
Attention is a fleeting resource and is finite, so adjust your thinking to capture that moment when the shopping decision is made and build from there where possible.
Myth 4: We can accurately identify consumer emotional states by scanning their faces
Context is what drives that decisiveness. Most research shows that faces and bodies do not consistently communicate emotions.
Dr. Gray closed this session by urging marketers to stay curious, continually update their assumptions, practice critical thinking and be skeptical of what they "know" to be true.
From Hyper Content Consumption, Sustainability and Gamification – the future of retail continues to be as exciting as ever. We'll be covering these topics and more throughout 2022, so be sure to follow us and check back for more Commerce insights!