Many aspects of our lives have been changed by technology. As far back as 2003, consumers were already shopping for products online. Over the last few years, technologies have enhanced the growth and development of e-commerce and showrooming – using smartphones to compare products while inside a store, even the mattress market has changed from going to a showroom to purchasing a mattress that comes in a box from an online retailer.
Aside from the effects of advancement in technologies, the expectations of customers on products and services have also shifted significantly. Consumer behaviours have also changed, but it is not just due to new technologies.
Below are definitive ways shopping habits have changed over the years.
Unlike in previous times, today consumers expect more from every product and service they purchase. Everyone wants something that is long-lasting, multi-functional, and multi-use, among others.
While this could be due partly to economic constraints, there could be other reasons as well. For starters, the increased need for minimalistic lifestyle has led to less consumption, and as a result, these products need to be durable and long-lasting. Another possible reason is the improved quality of products due to the development of technologies.
Customers also expect more specialised experience nowadays. They want a smooth shopping experience that is tailored to them, regardless of the stage of the purchasing process they are in or the device they are using to make the purchase.
According to the Plus Check report by Accenture in 2018, more than 90 percent of consumers are likely to shop with companies that recognise them and offer a personalised experience. As a result, brands need to offer a better experience to customers than they have previously in order to motivate them to make a purchase or come back.
Consumers are much shrewder
With plenty of information readily available, consumers are smarter compared to a decade ago. Due to the research addiction, consumers are now much more empowered and enlightened, making it more difficult for brands to sell their products. The growth of social media and review sites have also helped consumers become more educated about products from different manufacturers. Today, consumers can quickly and easily tap into a huge amount of information that will influence their buying decisions. Moreover, recent research has shown that consumers value the views and opinions of strangers as much as they value the views of their family and friends. So, to some extent, those online reviews and ratings have also played an important role in shaping the shopping habits.
Research addicted consumers
The internet, through blogs, online shopping, and online reviews has produced a research addictive consumer. Everyone now wants to do some basic homework on a product before buying it, to find the best reviews, deals, and comparisons.
If the internet has taught us something, it is that there is always a better coupon or a better deal somewhere, so it is no surprise that consumers may come to a store to feel the product in person and then proceed to buy online for a better deal.
Aside from deals, consumers are also looking for the competition as well to see if they are getting a high-quality product.
Smartphones have helped turn consumers into ‘research junkies’ as well as allowing brands to stay ahead of the game by meeting them where they are hanging out online.
Shoppers are now their own salespeople
More than 61 percent of shoppers research a product online first before buying it. Apart from online reviews and ratings, consumers now have access to a vast amount of details about a product and the manufacture that they can go through and analyse before making a buying decision.
As a result of these well-informed consumers, the role of salespersons is also changing. Because consumer expectations have grown higher, brands must now change their tactics in order to satisfy those expectations.
The evolution of needs and wants
Every consumer has similar basic expectations when shopping – they all want the products or services they want when they want them, and at a lower price. This consumer habit is the reason for the growth of e-commerce and online reviews.
Because of e-commerce, consumers can now access plenty of information as well as be able to shop from different brands using different devices and options to share their opinions and experiences.
The shopping habits of consumers will continue to change with technology and to survive, brands will have to also continue adapting.