The pandemic has forced consumers to try new brands, retailers, and paths to transactions. Many shoppers have purchased products for the first time or substituted for their favorites, while others have visited different types of brick and mortar stores to find everything on their lists. And many have tried online buying from storefronts and categories that they had never considered before. Buying based on convenience versus preference has become more prevalent. Consider the stats on the right.
"Forced trial" has upended loyalty, which means consumers are up for grabs like never before. In the diaper category, for example, 39% of diaper buyers have been "forced" to try another brand, with 57% of these buyers saying they are now open to switching. In other words, over 1/5 of diaper buyers are now in play.
If consumers’ new experiences with brands, retailers, and channels are positive, they may not go back to their previous shopping behaviors.
What Should Brands Do to Combat Forced Trial?
1. Get More Insights
Not only are shoppers behaving in new ways, but not all shoppers will behave in the sameways. Some are cutting back deep. Others are continuing to spend as usual but may be changing how they live in other ways. Some are feeling anxious, while others are being remarkably optimistic. Don't assume you know shopper behaviors and attitudes anymore. A deeper understanding is needed.Voice of the Shopper (VOS) Research can efficiently identify critical consumer segments to understand how much of your category is in play. The VOS also identifies key touchpoints where brands can influence and drive conversion. Attitudinal and behavioral shopper data may not provide all the answers, but it can help brands limit high-side and low-side risks.
2. Refocus Your Messaging
When the pandemic started, most brand messaging shifted to an empathetic tone, offering comfort. As our “new normal” continues, brands must pivot and adjust. Messaging must narrow in on the shopper and the mission of their trip. After uncovering new marketplace insights to better connect with shopper behaviors and attitudes, messaging should clearly define brand function and drive conversion. Every dollar counts, regardless of whether the messaging is in store or online. Brands must build agility into their messaging to account for recovery as well as potential waves of setback. Marketing flexibility has never been more critical, especially in online commerce.
3. Rethink How You Go to Market
This is a big one. As shoppers continue to buy based on need and convenience, categories will be in play like never before. Brands must adopt a broader view of shopper marketing to deliver more frictionless commerce—not just omnichannel. Not all shoppers will respond in the same way. Allow for flexibility at the Point of Transaction to help shoppers buy when, where, and how they want (in store, online, and DTC). Reevaluate strategies with retailers and last-mile platforms to ensure your brand is well positioned for new shopping behaviors and allows the consumer to choose the easiest route to transaction. The market is dynamic—your response needs to be as well.
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SellCheck seeks to help marketers do their best by providing clarity and confidence through the discipline of creative effectiveness. Our “Designing for the Shopper Mindset” Series was created to help you improve your business by highlighting key design principles and what to do about it to be more effective.
SellCheck is a marketing research platform designed to streamline the creative process, produce better marketing, and boost sales. Whether creating digital ads, in-store signage, or packaging, science-based design principles can improve your creative effectiveness. Why is this important? Ads optimized for selling outperform those that are not by 30% or more.
Please contact Chris Bedford (Chris@sellcheck.com) for more on how we blend shopper expertise and behavioral science to help you better “Design for the Shopper Mindset.”