Consumers are becoming increasingly well informed. In fact, these days they have access to almost unlimited information concerning the purchases they are considering, thanks in no small part to search, social media, and mobile technology. How can brands adapt their strategies to compensate for what Google has termed the ‘supershopper’?
The modern supershopper is using all the tools available to search for options while they shop. It’s no longer the case that your typical consumer will wander down the high street and dip in and out of shops at their leisure. 64% of mobile users now turn to their phones for shopping ideas before heading into stores, meaning that brands need to ensure they have an active, positive online presence. This means being proactive on social media, utilising intelligent PPC, and paying close attention to how your brand comes across online. It doesn’t matter how comfortable your shoes are when no one is trying them on because of dodgy website copy.
This new breed of discerning customer isn’t easily convinced by price promises or catchy slogans either, preferring to do their homework before committing to a purchase. This means they will use search and social channels to extensively audit products before they buy. In fact, YouTube has seen a whopping 60% rise in watch time for product reviews over the last year, showing that consumers are more than willing to pull out their phones to check if an an item really is as good as it says on the tin. Brands need to respond to this trend by focusing on integrity, honesty, and most importantly, quality of service. If you receive a bad comment on social media, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Respond politely, address the problem, and send them something free to boot. Converting a critic into an ambassador is more powerful now than it has ever been.
The third, and perhaps most fascinating, aspect of the modern supershopper isn’t what they use technology for, but what they don’t use it for. These consumers typically use mobile before or during physical shopping, rather than instead of physical shopping. If a smartphone user searches for a nearby product, there’s a 76% chance they’ll visit a related store within the next 24 hours, and a 28% chance that search will result in a physical purchase. This means that brands need to do two things. Firstly, they need to make sure their online experience makes sense in tandem with their physical retail experience. Secondly, they need to ensure that, as far as they have control over it, the physical retail experience is optimised for encouraging purchase and building brand loyalty, and not simply a throwaway ‘necessary evil’.
Armed with instant access to search and social media, smartphone-wielding supershoppers have access to information they simply didn’t have 10 years ago. This means that brands can’t simply rely on old tricks to make conversions. They need to be smart and digitally agile, remaining fully aware of the synergy between online presence and physical purchase.