Before we get into how Digital Marketing is impacting Consumer Behaviour, let us understand what all secrets are enveloped in the harmless phrase “consumer behaviour” and why it is important.
Why is it important?
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic had a monumental impact on internet usage. This in turn, impacted consumer behaviour in ways it hadn’t quite before. And from the looks of it, most of it is here to stay. Brands have taken cognizance of these changes and rapidly altering the way they communicate with their target audience using digital marketing.
What is Consumer Behaviour?
As the phrase suggests, Consumer Behaviour technically encompasses everything within the consumers’ purchasing process based on their personal preferences. From purchasing patterns, how they discover a brand, do their research, till the time they purchase a product or service.
Understanding consumer behaviour is, if not the most important, a keystone phenomenon that comprises a long list of metrics, to businesses around the globe. Consumer Behaviour intelligence gives businesses the chance to align their offerings with the consumers’ expectations and empower them to make better purchasing decisions and thus enhance the overall shopping experience and eventually boosting sales figures.
Let us further break it down into 8 ways in which consumer behaviour is evolving in the digital marketing age
- Consumers spend quality time researching and experimenting
Making a purchase decision isn’t a nightmare for most consumers these days. The internet is crowded with insights, recommendations, reviews and free-trials. Consumers spend quality time researching and experimenting with product categories, brands and services before making a purchase decision. And the best part, they enjoy this process.
Brands have been investing in digital marketing like never before while being transparent and adding value from an information perspective about their products and services. This clubbed with the information symmetry empowers consumers to be able to take their time to make the right decision instead of a product or service being forced down their throat.
- High accessibility of customer experiences and recommendations
One of the oldest, most effective and still relevant forms of marketing is Word-of-mouth. Nothing beats the power of a recommendation from an actual consumer. They are always on the lookout to see what other consumers are saying about a brand or a product they are interested in. And for brands, consumer feedback is a goldmine. It gives them unparalleled insights on their products’ performance, consumer psyche and preferences.
Technology and social media have collectively empowered consumers to share their honest opinions and experiences with a large audience who take them very seriously. And this consumer influence has pushed brands to ensure they become more customer centric.
Digital marketing has quite literally empowered the consumer in ways it hadn’t before.
- Erratic Customer Loyalty
Another major impact digital marketing has on consumer behaviour is how difficult it has made customers to stay loyal to a particular brand. Before digital marketing took the consumer world by storm, consumers had a preferred brand, which meant, they were willing to condone certain slips or mistakes the brand made. Another reason why consumers preferred a certain brand is because they used to be a couple of brands that ruled the roost in every industry and they were not exposed to the other brands that didn’t have the big budgets to indulge in traditional marketing.
Nowadays, consumers turn to brands that provide more value for the same or at a lesser price clubbed with great customer service. They don’t think twice before experimenting with a relatively new brand as they have immediate access to customer experiences. So, we could say that digital marketing has pushed brands to provide more value at a lower price to get an edge over the competition thus making it more beneficial to the consumer.
- Rise in Customer Engagement
The penetration of mobile technology and affordable internet has sky rocketed customer engagement. They have now started engaging with brands on a molecular level. Through social media and other online professional networks, they are able to reach out to a particular person to address a grievance or share valuable feedback.
Brands have special teams that indulge in social listening to engage consumers who have a concern or valuable feedback. And if the brand responds to consumers quickly, it only further elevates the brand’s online reputation and in turn, sales.
Consumers have always had a voice but digital marketing across multiple forums and social media have truly given the customer the power to make their voices heard to a large audience and engage with brands like never before.
- Effects of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the front runners when it comes to influencing consumer behaviour in the digital marketing age. It not only streamlines consumers’ journey through the whole buying cycle, but enables consumers to make better choices.
AI is a key building block of digital marketing as it enables brands to efficiently target the right audience with the right message at the right time at the right place. This gives them a huge advantage over brands that don’t efficiently include digital marketing in their strategy.
Another benefit of AI is that it allows brands to stay in constant touch with their customers and build long lasting relationships with their audience.
- The Impulsive Buying Behaviour
Impulse buying is a well-known phenomenon where a consumer makes a spur of the moment purchase just before they make a well planned out purchase of another product or service.
For instance, if you have done your research and wish to purchase a mobile phone and know where and for how much you will purchase it, just before that purchase, though digital marketing, brands can offer you attractive deals and discounts on other products that could entice you as well pushing you to explore more.
Brands use methods like re-targeting to understand where all and what all you browse and would possibly be interested in. Consistent promotions on social media platforms and third party websites also play a major role in affecting consumer behaviour.
7. Personalised Shopping Experience
Brands over the last few years, especially last couple, have spent quality time and effort on personalising the shopping experience for every visitor through digital marketing. This has greatly shortened the consumer journey.
Consumers thus end up spending less time researching and purchasing their desired products.
Every consumer now is subjected to tailor-made content based on their likes, dislikes, and browsing & buying patterns. These further pushes expectation of the consumer to always be served with a customised experience every time they visit a particular website.
8. Price sensitiveness, Lack of Patience and High Expectations
The new age of consumerism, evidently is nothing like what it used to be. With the increased investment in digital marketing by firms, customers have access to numerous customer review forums, readily available alternatives offering competitive products and services at desired price points and post sales service channels that never existed before.
Each and every consumer, including you and I, have become extremely impatient when it comes to subpar products and services, and rightly so. Consumers expect quick turnarounds on enquiries, queries and grievances. And special services like next-day delivery, hassle-free exchanges and assured money-backs are only pushing customer expectations to the next level. Failing to meet these expectations causes consumers to turn to social media to either share their experience which in turn hampers the brand’s reputation.
The above-mentioned are some ways in which Digital Marketing has impacted Consumer Behaviour in irreversible ways. Going forward, with the adoption of newer consumer technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality, Consumer Behaviour will be impacted in unimaginable ways, and it will be nothing short of intriguing to witness it.