Unlocking the Evolving Consumer Mindset of 2021 and Beyond
Content by Ally Clokey
As pandemic-laden 2020 has given way to new hope in 2021, we are seeing seismic shifts in how consumers interact with brands. Truthfully, we may never see a more defining shift in consumer trends in the next 50 years. Customers that companies once knew have changed their behaviors fairly dramatically after spending a year displaced from how they work, learn, shop, and play.
This sea change has led to new habits being formed and ingrained in the ever-evolving reality of daily life. There are a few key areas that brands and marketers should be paying attention to in order to create connection and comfort with their customers as 2021 unfolds.
The pandemic has pushed health and wellness to the forefront of customers’ minds, but a wellness playbook doesn’t exist in these uncharted times.
There is an opportunity for brands to step up and set the tone, allowing people to redefine what “wellness” means to them from a holistic view. Brands should consider repositioning the “why” of being active and taking mental breaks, making it feel more like an adventure than a routine. North Face’s RESET Normal initiative encourages people to reset their minds and bodies using the outdoors as an intersection of adventure, leisure, and health to create their own physical and mental wellness journey.
People are missing and craving stimulating experiences, but that’s nearly impossible to achieve in today’s reality.
Smart marketers are thinking about how to bring experiences to their customers virtually by reimagining digital formats that allow for interaction instead of passive viewership. Airbnb recently launched virtual field trips for school kids featuring amazing experiences and challenges hosted by passionate experts from around the world. These types of digital experiences can help fill the void of togetherness and exploration we once knew.
Shelter in place orders forced many consumers to try digital shopping for essentials like food, beauty, and household items for the first time.
Repeat usage of BOPIS (buy online/pick-up in store) and delivery options has been high. Savvy retailers have quickly adapted to these new shopping realities, but they shouldn’t consider their omnichannel strategy conquered just yet. Marketers should also consider rapidly growing digital sales platforms featuring live-selling from social influencers and emerging DTC (direct-to-consumer) shoppable video options and part of their growing omnichannel toolbox. For Samsung, it meant a whole new way of taking a new product to market and an astonishing increase in sales compared to their own benchmark, +127%. In collaboration with Bambuser, Samsung engaged two influencers to debut the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G in a #LiveatSamsung event hosted at their Stockholm showroom. Viewers asked questions, engaged with the influencers and other viewers, and even purchased the product in real-time while watching the live stream.
Based on confinement to space, changing financial circumstances, and greater flexibility of time sprinkled with a healthy dose of curiosity and ingenuity, do-it-yourself culture has never been stronger.
Brands that are accustomed to offering solutions to their customers should think more along the lines of offering tools that can help their customers complete projects or reach goals on their own. As brands are innovating new products or updating existing ones, they should be asking themselves what other applications their product might serve. Popeyes recently released a TikTok video showing how their chicken sandwich can be turned into a taco complete with pickles.
If 2020 taught marketers one thing, it was that customer evolution is moving at lightspeed. Behaviors are no longer changing in terms of decades or years but now months and weeks as consumers seek comfort and connection in a daily lifecycle that has been upended.
For 2021, marketers will need to reevaluate—and likely get out of their comfort zone—in order to bring meaningful experiences and connections to the mind, body, and soul of their customers.