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What Do Consumers Want Now? The Data Knows.

data

What Do Consumers Want Now? The Data Knows.

Businesses seem to know more about you than you know about yourself.

Sign up for or log into any social media platform and you will encounter suggested buying options based on your personal interests or previous buying history.

There’s a reason for that. The market is a consumers’ market. Any company that wants the chance of long-term sustainability must know as much detailed information as possible about their ideal client or consumer, says Janét Aizenstros, Chairwoman & CEO of Ahava Digital Group (www.ahavadigital.com), a women-led digital consultancy that serves Fortune and multinational media companies in 15 locations globally using data and technology.

And it’s not just the business sector. Government agencies, political parties and private equity investors make decisions every day based on what data reveals to them about a person’s income, financial and buying habits, credit history, political identification, demographics, personal values, lifestyle, emotional sentiments, voting history, opinions and modeled behavior.

“Without good, verified data, decision-makers would have to rely on guesswork as they introduce products and services, plan an election campaign, or determine whether a community needs their next real estate project,” says Aizenstros, whose company gathers and provides ethically verified data to Fortune corporations seeking to nurture relationships with women consumers.

“Guesswork obviously is not the best approach, especially when millions of dollars are involved.” 

How do businesses use verified data to make short-term and long-term decisions for their consumers’ needs?

“Ideally, personal milestones change a person’s buying habits,” Aizenstros says. “Examples are highlights of becoming a new parent, moving to a new home, or getting married. If a business knows you’ve just had a baby, then they know you need car seats, toys, diapers and a host of other products they can market to you.”

Consumer data carries great value to businesses, but only if it’s verified, refreshed frequently and keeps up with data and privacy legislation changes by data being ethically-sourced, Aizenstros says.

Here are a few ways data is used to keep the economy, and the world in general, humming along:

Auto industryCar dealers need a good understanding of their potential customers’ income and what vehicles they might prefer based on lifestyle. GM, Ford, and others draw insights from consumer financial data and lifestyle data as they plan and implement marketing campaigns for new models.

Fashion industry. The fashion industry’s new focus is sustainability to capture the growing trend of fashionistas. The retail industry pre-COVID relied more on the human experience than the ecommerce experience for their consumers to make decisions. But now Estée Lauder, for example, has accelerated its focus on e-commerce because of the pandemic’s disruption to brick-and-mortar stores. With verified and predictive consumer data, fashion brands can quickly measure how customers react to ideas and make prompt adjustments accordingly.

Real estate. Real estate developers are always trying to figure out which areas of a community to focus on for their next investment. If they are slow to identify trends, they could miss out on making money. Data helps them monitor, for example, which areas of a city are showing a growing trend in mortgages and credit history.

Financial institutions. Financial institutions use data in such areas as credit-risk assessments or to send targeted offers of investment products to consumers.

“The reason obtaining ethically-sourced, verified data is so important to corporations is that they want to maximize their ad spend by diminishing their burn-and-churn rates,” Aizenstros says. “They need to know who their ideal client is and what they exactly want so the business can maximize their marketing investment by more than 90%.”

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Janét Aizenstros is Chairwoman & CEO of Ahava Group Global (www.ahavagroup.co), a modern media parent company that serves Fortune and multinational media companies in 15 locations globally. Her background includes roles in finance at TD Canada Trust, Canon, and Brookfield LePage Johnson Controls, along with management consulting in a broad range of functions, such as supply chain operations and data analysis. Aizenstros is a signatory with the United Nations Business Action Hub for the United Nations Global Compact program. She is an award-winning businesswoman with several leadership awards such as the Top 40 under 40, the Top 10 Inspiring Women in Canada, and 2019 Conscious Company Media’s Top 22 Business Leaders.

E-commerce

E-commerce Will Continue to Grow in Importance Post-COVID

As we enter the second half of 2020, the global COVID pandemic seems to be slowing down in some places and taking wing in others. Through all the waves, however, one thing is becoming certain: we still have quite a while to go until things go back to “normal.”

For businesses, this brings a host of challenges. Although there’s a necessity to flatten the curve, economies cannot halt for the next year or so until scientists (or nature) come up with a solution. Ultimately, this means that some form of adaptation is necessary.

E-commerce growth in 2020

One of the most significant changes that we saw in consumer shopping habits in 2020 was the rapid growth in popularity of e-commerce. Just a few months back, online shopping was considered unreliable by most individuals over 65. Almost overnight, however, it has become an essential practice. And some numbers testify to the growth of e-commerce.

For example, for Q1 2020, Amazon reported a 29% increase in North American and an 18% increase in worldwide sales. What is even more interesting is that grocery sales have grown a full 8%, compared to the slower growth of 1% during previous years.

On the whole, this is a clear indicator that e-commerce is gaining importance in today’s society. And not just in categories such as tech, apparel, or entertainment. It’s also becoming more relevant when it comes to purchasing health or other essential products. 

With this increased exposure, it’s also likely to expand further during the coming months and years. After all, it’s widely available, convenient, and no longer a foreign concept to most.

For business owners, this prospect of accelerated growth sends a clear message. If they haven’t already, now is the time to make e-commerce an integral part of their business operations.

Changing work models

Adapting to changes can be difficult. And many have already made leaps to keep their operations going during the pandemic. From working remotely to introducing online shopping, these changes have made it possible for small businesses to carry on during these trying times.

But the truth is, small businesses need to put much more effort into their e-commerce webshops to allow them to work with the same efficiency as physical businesses.

For Americans, spending habits have changed drastically since the beginning of the year. The retail industry has taken a big hit, as have companies working in travel, hospitality, entertainment, and even health.

Moreover, there is a tendency towards turning to local shops for a variety of products. Of course, this is a lifeline to small companies who have taken the biggest hit since March. But, it can also be bad news for those whose business models were developed to serve a more global market.

This is why businesses need to start acting now.

Following trends

Over the next period, e-commerce businesses will need to be much more vigilant about how they approach the future. 

First and foremost, they will need to employ risk-mitigating strategies, which will allow them to continue reaching customers. These include diversifying supply chains, implementing DTC models, relying on automation, as well as re-thinking the entire business process.

Furthermore, they’ll need to pay special attention to meeting customers’ needs. Basic conversion-boosting practices such as search engine optimization, decreasing page load times, improving copy and visuals, will all influence user experience, and thus sales and rankings.

One way to future-proof e-commerce businesses is to take a hands-on approach to mobile optimization. Right now, mobile shopping is witnessing growth, and this trend is only likely to continue. If they want to keep up, businesses should adjust early on by adopting mobile optimization tools that are popular among their users.

Moreover, with fewer opportunities to make sales face to face, web design should receive a higher amount of attention. Do you deal with products for which tactile or sensory information is crucial when it comes to sales? Consider whether the visual content on your pages could bridge the gap between online and in-person shopping experiences.

You can look for inspiration from companies that are managing to do this with success. For example, Zoma is an online mattress retailer. Their product collection pages were designed to clearly illustrate the differences between various types of mattresses. This allows users to find the product that will meet their needs with much less hassle.

source: zomasleep.com

Putting customers first

Providing more in-depth information about your products and keeping your website visitors’ needs in mind is a big step in the right direction. However, it’s not going to be enough.

In e-commerce, sales rely on impeccable user experience, so you need to come up with ways to provide it to your customers. Things like free shipping, 24/7 customer service, or high-quality instructional content all play a part in driving conversions.

For this reason, it’s not a bad idea to call attention to the changes you’re making to your service. Are your locations open? Are you taking orders? Are you taking any extra precautions to protect your buyers? It may be wise to use a popup or banner on your website’s homepage to communicate to customers about how COVID might be affecting your business. A good example of this is the banner shown at the top of supplement machine manufacturer LFA Capsule Fillers website.

source: lfpacapsulefillers.com

As the current situation unfolds, you may even want to create a separate section on your website, addressing your response to COVID. That’s what retailer Massimo Dutti did. On their dedicated COVID-19 page, they call attention to an extended returns period to 30 days, as well as free standard home delivery.

source: massimodutti.com

For business owners, these changes are quite small. Though they require an investment in terms of time, they do provide a high level of value to customers. Ultimately what they’re doing is establishing a greater sense of trust, which is critical for any business, but especially for those just now expanding into e-commerce. In the end, trust translates into customer loyalty (and higher conversion rates). 

Navigating uncertain terrain

With the global situation being unpredictable at the moment, consumer behavior is more volatile than ever. What this means for businesses is that they need to be ready to make quick adjustments. And the only way to do this is to pay closer attention to everything that is or isn’t working.

One thing’s certain: e-commerce will continue to grow at a rapid rate, especially in the coming months. For this reason, do your best to follow current trends. Future-proof your business, mitigate risks, and find ways to improve your service. This way, you’ll be decreasing the chance of being run over by the times, and allowing your business to reach new heights.

shopping

Impulsive Shopping and Post-Pandemic Consumer Behavior

Picture this. You are in the supermarket in your neighborhood queuing to pay and see some delicious and totally irresistible chocolates that you did not even think about buying but that now are something that has become essential. That is what in marketing is called “impulsive buying” and, for example in the case of supermarkets, it is their main source of benefits.

Let’s take it up a notch. Have you thought about how you can translate an Instagram or Facebook like into a sale? That’s called Influencer Marketing, and I’ll show you how to unleash this online technique by starting a conversation and ultimately driving sales and establishing impulsive shopping, whether this was your initial objective or not. Remember, one like, share or comment, might equal one sale.

The Internet and mobile devices, as instant tools, favor impulsive purchases. Different promotions present on your website can trigger unplanned purchases by Internet users. Imagine being able to have those displays that are in the boxes of the supermarkets integrated into the design and shopping experience of your online store… How much extra income could they bring you? The experience may surprise you.

Flash sales (Time-limited): Flash sales are time-limited sales that are very often used in e-commerce to encourage impulsive buying. Generated by an attractive offer but limited in time, the user has to make a quick decision if he does not want to miss this opportunity. It works very well, especially in specific seasons where people are willing to spend more money (Christmas, back to school, Halloween).

Free shipping: The hook is to set a minimum purchase price so that the shipping costs are free and, if the customer does not yet have that amount, offer low-cost products in the checkout process that achieve the minimum required quantity. If we use products that far exceed the minimum amount, it will not work, but if they are inexpensive and related to the purchase that has been made, success is practically guaranteed.

Stock level: Showing available stocks can, to some extent, favor impulsive buying. If the number of products in stock is low, the interested visitor will tend to buy their product for fear of not finding it again at the price proposed in your online store.

Give away discount coupons or free products (gift): On condition of making a purchase, of course. This type of tactic has been shown to also boost sales since the customer must buy in order to receive their gift.

Expiration date:  Discounts on these types of items range between 20 percent and 50 percent of their initial price. For example, if they are products that expire the next day, the price is usually cut in half, but if we talk about products that have weeks to expire, the discount stays between 20 percent and 30 percent. Stores free themselves of products that would end up in the garbage and without any benefit if not bought, while customers get a good deal for a product that they would either buy or just purchase to take advantage of that specific occasion.

After the pandemic

From toilet paper in the early pandemic to bleach and flour, during this crisis consumers have modified its consumption and its way of making the purchase. But what will the consumer be like after pandemic? It is evident that many consumers have had to test the online channel as a result of this crisis, and they have realized how comfortable and safe it is for them.

The confinement has made the segment of the population that least bought online, those over 55-60 years old, now the group that needs it the most, especially those over 70, who are the most vulnerable to the disease and those who, therefore, should be more confined and without the help of their families. Although the consumer preferred to buy some specific products in person; if consumers verify that the product they receive at home meets their expectations, it is very likely that after the crisis it will continue to do so.

On the same line of shifting consumer behavior, for instance, some of the most popular products today are related to protecting employees and separating consumers with employees, like speak-thru devices, trays and shelves, and sliding service windows.

Where do impulsive purchases predominate: in physical stores or on the internet?

Physical stores are the main claim to get a customer to buy without having thought about it before. This fact is partly logical because most impulsive products are food, clothing, drinks, and personal care products. If discounts and promotions are added to that, the mix is ​​perfect. Supermarkets, shopping malls, and convenience stores are the central places for this type of sales.

Furthermore, some stores go the extra mile by using techniques that play with your senses, by releasing exquisite coffee and fresh cookie smell to get you in, even if they’re not in the food business.

Online advertising is the least appreciated to generate buying impulses, but that does not mean that their tactics are useless: Brands that use digital platforms as the first approach and establish the first connection have the potential to reap the benefits when the time comes to make the final purchase in the store, according to a study by Geoblink. 69 percent of those surveyed stated having bought between one and five products spontaneously in the last week, while 26 percent admitted having made between six and ten purchases of this type.

The millennial generation is the one that buys the most on impulse: a small group of 7 percent have bought up to 11 items without foresight in the last week. The previous facts serve as a great opening remark of the aforementioned Influencer Marketing technique. If you got until this part of the story, it means that there’s impulsive buyer material within you.

Influencer Marketing is nothing more than getting the right people to talk about you, firstly triggering your target audience to talk about you, secondly prompting that audience talking to each other about you, and finally you and the audience listening to each other. When this two-way conversation is in place, it is very probable that some of your social media likes, whether on Instagram or Facebook, are in fact translating into sales in your physical or online store.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule on digital impulsive buying: the first, that those who already have a subscription to a platform like Amazon, which avoids having to go through several stages before buying, are better able to combat the impulsive factor. The second: when the object to buy is an electronic item. 55 percent of the participants chose the Internet as the preferred medium for the impulsive purchase of these items.

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Featured in the Best Online Shops 2020 – Newsweek, DK Hardware is one of the largest online home improvement retailers for a variety of hardware manufacturers all over the United States and Canada.