While we all wait on official word that this lousy, stinking recession is over, retailers had better not wait to apply lessons learned during the recession and adapt to the changed consumer and marketplace.
A new, insightful report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Kantar Retail : The New Consumer Behavior Paradigm: Permanent or Fleeting? identifies important consumer behavioral changes and suggests that this recovery will be significantly distinct from the prior two. There are many important takeaways in this report and I think that several of the main points align smartly with the new tools and opportunities afforded by social marketing.
Going forward, according to the report, consumers will purchase more deliberately and with purpose. They will take a more thoughtful approach to buying and will utilize new shopping techniques and tools discovered during the recession. Post recession shoppers will display a “conscious and practical consumerism” very different than the conspicuous consumption of Baby Boomers after the post-dot.com bust at the start of the decade.
ROI: Return on Involvement
Shoppers will become even more involved in the process and start the shopping process with specific products in mind, rather than browsing retail stores and websites. Shoppers developed new skills and techniques during the recession, utilizing technology to manage spending and maximize savings. Shoppers invested their time learning and using list making and meal planning tools, online and mobile coupons, opt-in emails and comparison shopping sites. The time and money saved through this new involvement in the shopping process the report dubs: “Return on Involvement”.
SEO, Thought Leadership, Content Contribution, Social Networking
Retailers better have done their SEO homework to make sure they have a fighting chance to rank in these targeted searches by this involved consumer. Clearly the retail companies that have already earned authority on the web as industry experts by consistently providing relevant content to their customer base will stand out.
The retailers that execute a marketing continuum rather than marketing campaigns will be better prepared to service this involved shopper. This consumer will buy deliberately, only when she is ready, so retailers need to engage in ongoing communications with her, delivering a consistent value message. Twitter updates, Facebook conversations, mobile messaging, and opt-in emails all need to be integrated into the retailers’ marketing mix. Again, companies that have already established trust relationships with consumers have gained significant competitive advantage.
Bye Bye Boomers
The report also discusses important demographic changes that will have great impact on the recovery. It’s fascination stuff but this post is way long already. Download the report at: http://bit.ly/b7kohm to learn why retailers better tune up their understanding of Gen X and Gen Y shoppers.