Over the years, 3 major behavior patterns have been observed in the way consumers have gone about their behavior and spending. Now, which state are we in, and where are we going next? This article will intrigue you to the core.
‘Focusing on consumer behavior is the only way for companies to stay in the market.‘
That’s how consumer behavior has become a relevant study to stay in the game. The evolution of consumer behavior over the course of this century is one of the most compelling examples of how we both overestimate and underestimate changes in the future.
Imagine for a moment the world we lived in ten years ago. Hard it’s to realize 2005 was so long ago. Amazon was largely recognized for selling books, autonomous cars hit the automobile industry, and the iPhone had just been introduced.
The way we used to shop for goods back then was really dissimilar from how we do it now. Changing consumer behavior is what needs to be tapped upon. The majority of us still placed our trust in traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, didn’t have access to price comparison websites, and were dependent on big businesses for discounts. Consumer behavior has changed and how.
NOW LET’S GO 50 YEARS BACK
CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR PATTERN 1: First Confrontation
Consider becoming a consumer in the year 2005. You just entered a supermarket to purchase hair oil. You need to choose which hair oil to buy after noticing more than 10 distinct brands and varieties down.
Making this choice may involve taking into account a number of variables, including the label’s layout, where the shampoo is located on the shelf, and the label’s comprehensive description. Your current decision-making process is what marketers refer to as the “First Moment of Truth.”
As the hair oil incident demonstrates, an approach that did not take into account how clients shop online or using digital technologies.
Now, this is stage one of the consumer behavior pattern. It functions as the beginning point for the objectives of this article.
LET’S GO 40 YEARS AHEAD NOW AND ADD A DIGITAL MIX TO IT.
CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR PATTERN 2: CONSUMER’S DECISION IN THE DIGITAL ERA
Let’s revisit the hair oil incident once more but in 2012.
Now that the internet is widely available, customers may evaluate products outside of the store.
Since eCommerce sites like Amazon and Walmart.com have grown tremendously in popularity and are now competitive with real retail establishments, you could not even be in the physical store.
Marketers refer to it as the “Zero Moment of Truth.”
This stage occurs when you need something like hair oil but are unlikely to walk straight to the store to get it. Instead, you search online for things like “the best hair oil in the world.” Here is where it became important for businesses to study changing consumer behavior.
ZMOT is significant since it was possibly the first marketing framework to underline how important digital channels are to the customer decision-making process. This phase prompted businesses to start thinking about “buzzwords” like SEO and SEM (search engine marketing). This was a phase when consumer behavior took a turn for good.
However, even these two models explained are being challenged by digital acceleration.
CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR PATTERN 3: CONSUMER LOYALTY
The two prior frameworks’ greatest flaw is that they are too sluggish. Consumer behavior took a new shape in this phase. Consumers are currently inundated with thousands of pieces of information on the internet every single day, and their attention span has drastically decreased.
This means that a customer’s evaluation cycle is drastically compressed for marketers, going from a stage of several days or hours to a matter of minutes or seconds. Customers will no doubt not return no matter how many advertisements you saturate their inboxes with if your product fails to persuade them to buy straight away.
This new “loyalty journey” is significant because it doesn’t merely concentrate on giving clients information to aid in product evaluations. It also underlines how crucial it is to provide that information to the most targeted client segments in the shortest amount of time as changing consumer behavior becomes the norm. This enables marketers to get these clients to act right away and buy.
In other words, simply having knowledge about this is not sufficient. When a customer’s demands are being created, you need to actively push that information in front of them.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN 20 YEARS FROM TODAY?
It’s time to discuss where we are headed next and what we can do as contemporary marketers to keep on top of the game and stay relevant now that we have looked at the three changes in marketing paradigms over the past years.
The underlying idea is the same despite the fact that these changes in marketing may appear to be very different. Clients are becoming increasingly capable of making their own purchasing decisions.
In order for a specific target audience to become devoted customers, it is now necessary to create products WITH and FOR them.
In the coming decade, this tendency will further gain momentum as customers have access to more information. This makes “customer-centric” marketing even more crucial for businesses to thrive.
Here is how marketers can respond to stay relevant and profitable.
- Keep monitoring the changing consumer behavior.
- Invest in advanced technology to study your target audience
- Understand what products are relevant to consumer behavior patterns
- Experiment and stay ahead of the constant change
We have shown that there is a pattern in consumer purchasing behavior. Marketers in the future will attempt to translate the tactics used after researching consumer behavior in the retail industry into the internet markets. Mobile shopping, carts, and consumer applications adapt to the change in consumer behavior. This is done by recording consumer activity and enabling marketers to adjust their plans and marketing campaigns accordingly.
Though we believe the real evolution in consumer behavior is yet to come, and that will be the way in which researchers dissect consumer groups to find both global truths and factor-based nuances that contribute to a more data-dependent future.