The times have been a’changing for consumer habits which have steamrolled over previous ecommerce operations. And brands and retailers have been scrambling to sweep up the data and respond to new consumer behaviors.
The adoption of digital is driving not only direct ecommerce sales and putting pressure on the warehouse, but also other areas of digital where consumers congregate – in particular the increasing commercialism of social media and importance of user-generated content.
A recent consumer report released by Bazaarvoice, based on over 10,000 brands and retailers and 6,000 consumers, dug up some fascinating data.
“Covid-19 has not only drastically changed consumers’ shopping habits,” according to Bazaarvoice CEO Keith Nealon, “but accelerated the trends already in motion before it began. But even though more shoppers are utilizing ecommerce than ever before, they still want the brick-and mortar experience of truly getting to know the product they are buying.”
Put another way, consumers have adopted behaviors that fall in line with an omnichannel approach to shopping – when a brand has multiple and separate channels in which they set up shop, widening their range of commerce.
(Having said that, there is a strategy pushed by the very highest-performing ecommerce stores, which is the next step from omnichannel, and that strategy is called unified commerce. The Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform does this extremely well because it holds a depth of tools to combine those separate commerce channels (the physical store, the website, social media, email, etc.) and integrates the customer data and business functionality into one cloud platform.)
But back onto the main road of this article: new consumer behaviour and brand reaction.
“I think the most surprising finding,” added Bazaarvoice VP Suzin Wold, “was how common social commerce has become – almost a third of US shoppers said they use social media to discover new products to buy.”
Come for the chat, stay for the shop
Over the last year, 1/3 of shoppers bought something via social media. And this way of shopping is going to continue as more and more social media platforms experiment and enable shoppable features – the latest being Twitter.
“We are seeing this in real-time,” added Wold, “as social companies are continuing to update their platforms to be more commerce-friendly. Soon, people will be using social media to shop just as much as they use it to socialize.”
More content from consumers
With social media commerce springing higher and higher, so is the appetite for consumer content, as we seek out reviews and opinions of those who already have the product. With many – if not most – of us buying online it’s become even more important to grab greater detail of a product outside the marketing-managed descriptions of products.
It’s become so prevalent, in fact, that 42% of shoppers won’t buy something if the webpage lacks user-generated content; and 49% search product pages for customer photos.