By Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis
Chief Operating Officer and Head of Consumer Insights, Retail Doctor Group

Customers are a lot more tech-savvy nowadays. They’re coming to your brand – especially younger consumers – because of how much they’ve had to rely on technology over the past 24 months.

Tech savvy consumers

Consumers are clearly a lot more educated about what they want before they even picked up the phone and talk to your staff. The people engaging with you now do their research, look into the background, and read all the details of a product or service before they lock that down.

Some industries, like Telco, for instance, have a lot of very specific jargon. There’s a lot of information that some customers will just know (because they’re tech-savvy), and then there are those who don’t know much at all. Brands will very much need to simplify their offerings down to plain English, and just tell people how it is.

Most brands and retailers still have customer call centres and customer sales teams who take a reasonable volume of calls and do sales over the phone. But ensuring you have a wide variety of options in terms of how a customer engages with you is where you’ll draw those people out.

This is omni-channel, and it integrates how different people engage and communicate with your brand in different ways.

Comparison savvy consumers

The digital environment is an important consideration for brands. People are using comparison sites more and more to make informed decisions and to review the effectiveness or usefulness of products:

  • They go into different forums like Reddit, Quora, Whirlpool, or even Discord and ask questions.
  • They use social media platforms like Facebook to vent or veto a product or service.
  • They use review sites like Hello Peter, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Trust Pilot to judge the quality of a product or service.

So we see that tech-savvy consumers become comparison-savvy consumers once they learn about the existence of online reviews. The importance of that comparison activity has grown – and will continue to grow – over the next few years as people become more tech connected or evolve into an internet-first consumer.

In the old days, people would pick up the Yellow Pages or the White Pages and find a supplier. It was a time-consuming exercise because categorisation was mostly a problem. It was also hard to tell whether or not a service provider could be trusted just by glancing at a display ad or a listing.

What we have seen in our research in the last 2 years is that word of mouth – however it comes about – whether it’s from review sites, family, friends, colleagues, or social media has grown exponentially in importance.

Without those review sites and other online places consumers go to for reviews, it becomes really hard to track people’s opinions. You may as well still be thumbing through old telephone directories!

So, people turn to Google and other sites on the internet. These internet-first consumers are using reviews and online forums and articles to help shape their opinion. And in a lot of cases if they read a review that they identify with themselves, that’s almost always a more-powerful decision-maker than other things.

This lack of trust from customers has grown over the years, become a decisive purchasing factor during COVID times, and is here to stay. This new word of mouth system is still the most influential organic marketing strategy there is. We know from our Limbic Insights™ personality profiling how for some consumer types this is their #1 influence on purchase and brand choice set.

These digital spaces have paved the way for a massive increase in digital journeys. Before consumers even set foot on a retailer’s website or with a brand or in store, they’ve done their digital research, digital analysis, looking at reviews, looking at everything else first. The process behind this thinking is a trust-based one, and it’s grown significantly in customers’ mindsets.

Human savvy consumers

A lot of ways that people inherently build trust is person-to-person. If you walk into a retail setting, or if you walk into anywhere, a positive interaction with that salesperson or store manager is going to influence your level of trust for that brand or retail outlet.

But even a bad experience with a specific brand can be changed by one good experience with a face to face interaction. Yet, it’s very difficult to get that in a digital sense because, even from a call centre perspective, you’re missing the physical communication cues that you would normally rely on to make a decision.

Here lies the opportunity to build in emotional cues to each digital interaction with consumers. With the time crunch dictating how people live their lives, it’s so hard to slow down and consider that people need to be treated like they’re a real person, not the face behind an avatar or just another transaction. Customers are humans, not numbers, not data. And we need to have that emotional connection, and emotionalise ourselves as well as the brand, as a retailer.

Because, humans want to talk. They want to build that emotional connection. Everyone’s driven by their emotions, and they want to make these connections and feel like they belong.

This is where Limbic Insights™ neuroscientific consumer profiling can go beyond any demographics and transactional data to give you the information on what emotional experiences consumers are seeking, how to build these emotional connections and create a strong bond of loyalty between a brand and a consumer.

If you’re looking to understand “Why” your customers interact with you and how to use this to drive foot traffic, increase conversions and improve frequency of visitation reach out to me for a complimentary discussion

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