The internet is a complex network where every consumer moves on different paths – some simple, others more elaborate. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for business managers and marketers to understand each person’s behaviors and preferences.
For these businesses to to stay competitive, it’s necessary to understand the market trends, behavior patterns and sector analyses. This will allow organizations to identify the right customers to target, which communication channels to use and the best methods to employ. We’ve selected the six latest reports and trends impacting online shopping.
1 – Online reviews and brand websites: the first steps to in-store purchasing
Before going to the store to make a purchase, the majority of consumers read online reviews and customer feedback. This is the first online activity consumers are involved in before the purchase stage.
The Omnichannel Buying Report conducted by BigCommerce analyzed 3,000 consumers across the UK, USA and Australia. They found that 87% of Americans still buy offline. However, before their purchase, 39% of consumers visit the company’s website to learn more about the brand.
2 – Amazon conquers over brick and mortar stores
The BigCommerce analysis further reveals that the majority of respondents made purchases in a variety of places. Amazon, rises supreme as the first choice for shopping (78% of responders) and physical stores take second place (with 65% of responders). However, 90% of millennials made a purchase on Amazon.
Why does everyone love Amazon? Convenience outweighs price as the ability to compare products, read reviews and view photos, all on one platform, is invaluable for consumers. The main reason respondents (65%) choose to purchase products in a store was to see and try products in person.
3 – Teenagers & young adults: social media’s biggest purchasers
If teenagers and young adults are your target consumers, you should consider launching a promotional campaign on social media. When asked the question “in which of these places did you buy in the last 6 months?”, Gen Z and Millennials responded with a clear preference for Instagram and Snapchat, confirming that social media channels are slowly evolving into points of sale.
4 – The boom of voice assistants
Deloitte has recorded a strong growth in the adoption of voice assistants, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, whose sales in the US alone over the last 12 months grew by 140% and entered the home of 36% of people (vs. 15% in 2017).
Moreover, people are using voice assistants to search online, book restaurants, listen to music and even shop at the supermarket. The hypermarket giant, Walmart, has just launched Voice Order… and we’re only at the beginning of this trend!
In fact, online searches are moving closer to the spoken language. Consumers are using first-person and whole sentences rather than single keywords. For example, “What do I need to renew my passport?” is the new norm, instead of “passport renewal”.
5 – Compulsive purchases
“People are always shopping,” Google says in their annual consumer insight analysis.
“84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time, in up to six different categories. And in nearly one quarter of shopping occasions, shoppers say they turn to their smartphone first.”
The internet is filled with information and products which can overwhelm consumers and lead to indecision. According to the Google study above, 9 out of 10 consumers don’t know which brand to choose. That’s why remarketing campaigns – including customized ads targeted to those who have already visited your site or bought from you – are very effective.
6 – Here and now
Smartphones have given consumers enormous power: the ability to search online at any time from any location. From the bed at home or waiting in line at the bank to commuting on the train or at the top of a mountain… the possibilities involving mobile devices are endless.
That’s why, according to Google, on-the-go searches have exploded over the past 24 months to find services and products here and now:
- Mobile searches that contain “near me” + “to buy” have grown by 500%
- There is a 600% growth in searches containing “near me” and dress-related words (i.e. “evening dresses near me”)
- 150% growth in searches containing “___ near me now”
- 900% growth in searches containing “___ near me today/tonight”
- 200% growth in searches with the words “open” + “now” + “near me” (i.e. “pharmacies near me open now”)
Drive Sales Growth through Customer Sentiment
The trends listed above are useful to keep in mind when creating a marketing strategy, but how can you best understand your own customers?
Analyze your online presence and the perception customers have of you!
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand, the services and products offered and the reputation of your store compared to competitors.