4 Ways Online Consumer Behaviour Has Changed

The pandemic brought about a technological revolution around the globe and continues to transform the way we work, shop and communicate with people on a daily basis – perhaps our entire functionality. Today, everything has gone digital and consumers across the world have embraced that shift with full gusto, especially when it comes to retail. Retail has witnessed a massive change in the past year itself – from business owners to customers, everyone has adopted the new virtual wave.

E-commerce had already been creating a buzz, but it’s the pandemic that actually broke the circuit, which caused online shopping and virtual video shopping to come to the fore as the primary means of retail. While a lot of consumers continue to prefer brick-and-mortar shopping to virtual shopping, the latter has really come a long way to cater to customers’ demands and desires. However, despite the world opening its doors again, people continue to stick to the ‘online’ way of doing things, which suggests that virtual shopping and live video shopping are truly here to stay.

This paradigmatic shift in the overall retail process has also affected consumer habits and behaviours to a great extent. There is a world of difference between how consumers behave when in a physical store and how they are when they’re browsing and buying online and we’re here to explore just that. Let’s dig deep into how the pandemic seems to have changed consumer behaviour across the world.

1. Smartphones Bridging the Gap

E-commerce has brought shopping from physical stores to customers’ own fingertips, allowing them to shop from anywhere, at any time. They no longer have to wait for stores to open or wait in lines that last forever to take their purchases home. Consumers today use their smartphones in more ways than one when it comes to shopping. They discover new products, locate the items and compare prices, create and manage shopping lists, and make and review their purchases. This concept of shopping via smartphones has blurred the lines between in-store shopping and an online experience.

2. More Personalized Experiences

With the rise in online shopping and live video shopping, consumers’ demands have increased. Like in-store shopping, customers now want a more personal experience while shopping online too. They want a seamless, customized retail experience – one that is consistent, irrespective of the device they’re using for the purpose. This is a challenge for retailers to offer better experiences to customers than the ones they’ve had in the past and motivate customers to make a purchase. Businesses have answered by creating omnichannel, personalized experiences with content that resonates, engages and delights consumers.

3. Shopping as a Social Activity

People want to share their online shopping experiences with others – their family members, their friends, their co-workers, etc. – when online businesses create great shopping experiences for them. Shopping has, thus, turned into a social activity thanks to digital marketing. Furthermore, customers’ purchase decisions today are largely based upon the opinions of others and they have immediate, easy access to those reviews. Therefore, it can safely be said that social platforms and online review sites have now best options for product advertising. Online reviews are one of the best option for advertising without spending any money if you are getting good reviews.

4. Consumers Have Become Their Own Salesperson

Consumers check online review websites to do a detailed analysis of the products and brand information before buying any product online or purchasing it from the store. The role of salespeople in businesses is changing as a result of these better-informed customers. Customers’ expectations have increased, and businesses must adjust their strategies to meet those expectations. Earlier, customers had to ask for all information from the salesperson as they had no other sources of information that they can check from their home. Now, customers walk into stores, both online and offline, already armed with all of the information they need to make a purchase.

These points further cement the notion that virtual shopping and live online shopping are only going to evolve further and revolutionize the retail industry in ways one can only begin to imagine. It would truly be an understatement to say that the future of shopping is here.