Consumer demands have changed over the course of the past two years, more time at home and shifting needs have driven the economy in search of more consumer goods rather than services. With these changes in what consumers are searching for, the way that they interact with and view industries has changed drastically as well. Marketers are increasingly needing to adapt to how they target and sell products to meet consumers where they are. Consumer perception is the marketer’s reality. How can marketers stay on top of shifting wants and remain relevant in the eyes of the people that buy from them?
Marketers are now needing to meet consumers where they shop, and that is occurring more and more online. Online purchasing trends that have been driven by the pandemic are more than likely expected to be something that sticks around permanently. Last year, the share of total retail sales that occurred via ecommerce hit 19.6%, up from 15.8% in 2019. Consumers spent $791.70 billion online with merchants in 2020. The trend of consumers spending more and more online has been occurring for years, but accelerated due to the pandemic. Meeting consumers via mobile and desktop isn’t a new challenge marketers are facing but it will be something that becomes more relevant as more consumers find the products they are looking for online rather than in person.
One major challenge marketers and brands are facing is public perception of their brands and industry as a whole. Consumers expect industry to provide good and safe products, but also participate in society as a whole. The role of marketers is shifting from getting word out and selling their products to leveraging the shared experience of consumers. Consumers are increasingly wanting sustainability, inclusion, and social responsibility more than ever from the brand they buy from. Brands and marketers can, and should, take note of this and be active in the forefront of their campaigns and tactics rather than reacting to it in the wake of blowback. Advertising has also changed in the minds of consumers who worry about their privacy being collected and online platforms spread of content. Marketers need to connect with consumers in relevant ways that the individual finds acceptable. Shaping a model of consumer centric design that puts the individual at the center will be an important measure of success in the eyes of the public.
Various industries have begun the policy of responsible marketing, a practice in which you not only meet a consumer’s needs but also make a positive impact on them and the community that you belong to. By aligning consumers and marketers we can understand the expectations and experiences of each group. If customers are looking for transparency and respect when it comes to their data, marketers can meet this by providing clear information as to how and why data is collected, provide opt-out options for the user, and not withhold information about where the information will be shared. Providing valuable and relevant content is the core of all marketing, and good content that provides value will be enticing to the consumer. As our habits continue changing, marketers will need to connect with consumers where they are in ways that are both sustainable and responsible.