Business cannot exist without its consumers, yet consumer behaviour and values are always shifting and evolving – impacting how businesses sell their products or services. Over the past two years, many aspects of our personal, social, and professional lives have changed, and some of these behavioural changes may be temporary or expected to continue for years to come.
To succeed, small business will need to know their consumers and understand their circumstances and motivations, especially their concerns for financial uncertainty, health, and safety. Let’s explore some of the consumer behaviours shaping business currently.
Different shopping priorities
The beginning of the pandemic saw plenty of bulk buying of food and household essentials, and even though consumers prefer trusted, reliable brands in times of uncertainty, the pandemic drove them to look for value which prioritizes prices, but also quality and longevity. Plus, consumers are also increasingly concerned about environmental and ethical sustainability. This consumer trend has accelerated, with more people changing their purchase behaviour towards more sustainable products and services.
In a 2020 survey, 77% of consumers stated that it was very or moderately important that a brand be sustainable and environmentally responsible. Consumers also preferred brands that support recycling, with 76% believing it was very or moderately important.
What this means for your business is ensuring that you are adopting environmentally sustainable practices and initiatives. From more efficient manufacturing processes to sourcing sustainable materials for your packaging for example, it’s worthwhile to assess how your business can improve its sustainability practices.
E-commerce is here to stay
The pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce, and with most people going out far less often and others working from home, shopping online is an experience consumer have come to expect, and moreover that it be smooth and rewarding. The e-commerce boom is set to continue for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), according to the latest e-commerce trends research commissioned by FedEx Express. The survey, said FedEx, reveals that consumers are looking for innovations in personalization, “shoppertainment” and payment options that enhance their experience and, at the same time, make it easier to discover new brands and make purchasing convenient.
It will be worthwhile for you to think about how consumers are engaging with your business and products. Are you available where they are already shopping (online and accessible via multiple devices) and is your business able to meet their expectation for omnichannel shopping and communication? Focus on creating a cohesive experience, which means breaking down silos within your business so that marketing, sales, logistics and consumer service – for example – can work in unison to provide the kind of online experiences consumer’s demand.
Speed of delivery
As consumers spend more on e-commerce, speed of delivery has become a big factor in where they choose to buy from. At the same time, many consumers are still reeling from orders that were missed or delayed at the start of the pandemic. Now may be a great time to experiment with new delivery methods that give consumers more options and greater control over when and where they receive their packages. Consider investing in simpler ordering, tracking, and returns processes. It’s a great way to delight your consumers and win their loyalty.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the past few years, it’s that consumer behaviour is always evolving. For your business to remain relevant and valuable to consumers, it’s important for you to study this behaviour consistently. Review your internal data points (such as sales numbers and trends or delivery fulfilment data), keep the consumer at the centre of everything you do and continue to innovate to keep up with the fluid business environment.
You can also explore how FedEx can help your business reach customers faster with reliable shipping service. Visit fedex.com to learn more.