The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on consumer behavior, with some analysts projecting that the global lockdowns and mitigation efforts have accelerated the shift away from physical stores, and towards digital shopping, by roughly five years.
That presents a whole new set of challenges, and opportunities for retailers and retail marketers. And while it's unclear how much the current trends will hold in the wake of the pandemic, it's important to understand what's motivating people's current shopping habits, in order to assess how you can meet those needs moving forward.
Which is what Facebook's latest 'Future of Shopping' report is all about. The 64-page guide is part of Facebook's new 'Industry Perspectives' series, which will see it working with a range of experts, in different verticals, to determine key trends, and provide guidance for brands based on the latest consumer shifts.
You can download the full retail trends report here, but in this post, we'll look at some of the key notes and stats.
First off, Facebook looks at how shopping motivations have changed, and the key factors that currently determine people's in-store shopping habits.
Price has, of course, always been a key consideration, but right now at least, safety is also top of mind for in-store shoppers.
That makes sense, but it's interesting to note its significance in this listing, and to also consider these trends in comparison to the top factors that determine which brands people shop with online.
If you're looking to maximize in-store and/or eCommerce performance, these are the key elements of note, and it's worth highlighting each, where you can, within your marketing communications.
Interesting to note, too, the relatively low results for customer service here. It seems that our priorities, at least right now, have put less emphasis on this element - though I would argue that it remains a critical factor, both in-store and online.
Facebook also looks at some of the top benefits that consumers have found with the shift to eCommerce, which includes the capacity to better your purchases in order to get the best deals.
As explained by Facebook:
"Consumers are realizing the benefits digital can bring to their shopping experiences beyond simply efficiency. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) shoppers globally say the internet makes it easier to compare products by price, and 67% say the internet makes buying products less risky."
That's an important factor in your listings, and competitor research. These days, your customers are going to be spending more time analyzing their options, which means that you should also be aware of what's on offer elsewhere, while you should also be looking to communicate your returns policy for added assurance.
Facebook also notes that the pandemic has prompted more consumers to support local businesses, in an effort to boost their communities.
This is a positive shift, which could help sustain these smaller providers throughout the economic downturn, while it may also lead to greater local support in the longer term, as more people become aware of, and connected to, those within their vicinity.
The report also looks at the types of communications consumers are seeking from brands right now, which again sees a focus on safety.
While Facebook also looks at the key factors in modern brand loyalty - with some very valuable branding notes:
The full report includes a range of expert insights to help businesses effectively action these trends, and additional notes on consumer shifts that can help shape your strategy and approach.
You can download the full Facebook 'Future of Shopping' report here.