Talk about high maintenance. Confirming many marketers’ suspicions, today’s consumers are unapologetically fussier than ever, and
increasingly, they demand that brands treat them like matchless individuals.
Indeed, the vast majority (79%) of consumers agree with the statement: “My relationship with brands is much more personal than ever before,” according to a new engagement study from About.com and the research consultants at Latitude.
What’s more, 68% of consumers concur with the assertion: “Shopping today is less about the brands/products themselves and more about me -- what I’m feeling or needing.”
What explains the explosion in consumer expectations? “The rise of mobile and social, along with the sheer volume of information available online,” according to Laura Salant, director of research at About.com.
Consumers have a vastly expanded view of shopping, says Salant. In fact, 87% of survey respondents agree that there is much more to it than just “identifying a need, exploring options and purchasing.” Paths to purchase have become more complex and less linear than traditional purchase funnels once suggested.
As Salant notes, today’s consumer identifies six behaviors they engage in along the path to purchase, including openness; realizing wants or needs; learning and education; seeking ideas and inspiration; research and vetting; and post-purchase evaluation and expansion.
Consumers are also likely to use particular platforms as they engage in specific behaviors. For example, tablets are most likely to be used during the openness and learning stage, while TV plays its most significant role during openness and ideas and inspiration.
Within this new loop-like model, consumers move from behavior to behavior in patterns that resemble spiderwebs, Salant added.
Therefore, marketers that add value throughout the loop can keep their brands in consumers’ consideration sets as they move from one behavior to the next.
For the study, About and Latitude surveyed some 1,600 U.S. adult consumers who reported searching for information either online or via a mobile device at least once a week.
Respondents also reported frequently “shopping” (which includes the act of browsing) in at least two top categories, including food, home, health, personal finance, tech, fashion/beauty/style, autos, and travel.