We know that the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed consumer behavior. But we’re also learning how the pandemic has also changed how people live and how they perceive themselves and the world around them. Periods of self-isolation, fear about health and safety and economic uncertainty have changed the way consumers think and act. In fact, 68% of people say that their values and outlooks on life have changed since the pandemic took hold. Economic experts predict these shifts in consumer viewpoints will lead to the evolution of consumer profiles.
Over the last year and a half, four consumer segments have emerged, each of which have been shaped and influenced by the pandemic. Each segment reflects changes in thought and attitude that will likely persist for years to come.
These emerging consumer profiles will have a big impact on the future of eCommerce and retail in general. Here are four consumer segments and ways that DTC eCommerce brands can meet the expectations of the future customer.
Health and Safety
Health, hygiene and safety took top priority with many consumers during the pandemic and continues to guide the retail choices they make. These consumers are most likely to have a cautious or even pessimistic view of when normal life will return. A reported 57% of these consumers said they would pay more for products that promote health and wellness. They also prefer to buy from brands they deem trustworthy, and this type of consumer would rather shop online than in a store.
How DTC eCommerce retailers can address health concerns: Brands must continue to offer conveniences like online shopping, contactless and mobile payments and seamless, cross-device shopping experiences. But more importantly, brands must emphasize they are invested in the health and safety of their customers. “Feel-good” content and positive messaging that alleviates anxiety will go a long way to enhancing consumer trust in a brand.
Surveys show that 74% of this consumer profile is likely to be more price conscious than they were pre-pandemic. In fact, these shoppers prioritize price over quality and convenience. They avoid buying things they do not need, and will spend more time looking for deals. Price is also the main reason they shop online. Perhaps not coincidentally, these price-sensitive consumers usually live in countries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
What DTC eCommerce retailers can do about affordability: Besides offering competitive pricing, DTC eCommerce brands must also up the ante when it comes to online bargains, discounts and special promotions. Also, this segment is less concerned about brands and more focused on whether a product is worth the price. To that end, brands must appeal to value and show customers that their brand and products are superior and worth the expenditure.
Shoppers who fall into this consumer profile are acutely aware of the environmental impact of their retail choices. They will purchase from brands that align with their beliefs and are willing to pay higher prices for ethically-sourced, sustainable products and goods. Eco-consumers are also likely to support local or independent brands, and 52% report they will continue to do so even after the pandemic subsides.
How DTC eCommerce brands meet eco-consumer demands: While there are many ways DTC eCommerce brands can be more sustainable, the key to attracting the eco-friendly segment is to promote sustainability efforts to that audience. Brands should let their customers and the community know about any fair-trade partnerships, recycling efforts or ethical sourcing practices. Many brands, particularly in the DTC health and beauty industry, have taken great strides toward sustainability, including investing in the growing trend toward recyclable, refillable and reusable packaging.
Digital consumerism boomed during the pandemic, as reflected in the astronomical rise of eCommerce. Today, there are 2.14 billion digital buyers globally. That means more than one in four people in the world make purchases online. There are now more than 900 million more digital shoppers than there were in 2020. Today’s digital consumers are well informed and make efficient use of modern technology, especially mobile devices. They want quick and relevant information they can access within seconds, and will share information and opinions on any number of social media channels.
How eCommerce brands can cater to today’s digital consumers: In today’s digital-first environment, eCommerce brands must optimize all digital channels at their disposal particularly by being active on social media and adopting omnichannel marketing strategies. Personalization and the customer experience must be important components of marketing campaigns. Fast and responsive websites, highly engaging and relevant information and user-generated content also play crucial roles in today’s eCommerce marketing.
Now more than ever, it is important for DTC eCommerce brands to adapt to shifting consumer profiles and behavior. Partnering with eCommerce experts like Scalefast can help brands compete and win in today’s highly competitive eCommerce marketplace.
Scalefast is a new generation of global eCommerce solution that brings together a modern and flexible enterprise commerce cloud with global business infrastructure. Air360 by Scalefast goes one further by transforming data into actionable insights that can help brands become conversion rate heroes.