> The new buying experience: 5 evolutions of what people expect when buying.

The new buying experience: 5 evolutions of what people expect when buying.

Needless to say that our buying behaviour has changed over the last year. I was curious to know the evolutions and how marketing should respond to these. I detected 5 evolutions. Enjoy the reading. Curious about your detected evolutons. Let me know.

The real customer context changed

The easy customer experience is becoming more important to people than ever before. Their life and behaviours have changed tremendously due to COVD-19. Their context has changed. Within that context they expect to be helped. They expect companies to adapt their products and services to their new world.

Campanies need “to become a real partner in life” as Steven Van Belleghem nicely stated in his book ‘The offer you can’t refuse’.

The times of just providing a product are over. As a marketeer you need to understand the real context of your customer and how your product, how your company, can help within that new context.

People expect services, not the transactional convenience of digital commerce, but real aid of helping them out in their adapted life experience, going further than the consumption experience.

Within that context I observe the following evolutions.

01: Home is the new experience context

Our lives are now being lived within the confines of our homes. Home working is here to stay. We’re transforming our homes to do more as our office, gym, school, restaurant, and entertainment centre.

People are looking for ways to create structure and continue to engage in the activities that help them feel normal. We have seen a peak in sales of products that help people with these new home activities: office supplies, headsets, entertainment, cooking appliances, DIY. But even for other products, like clothing, the context is home.

Online clothing shops have changed their portfolio and campaigns to “comfortable clothes to wear at home”. For example, according to Google Trends, searches for loungewear increased 1.300% from early March to mid April. Even companies that weren’t active in-home usable products, made the shift.

For example, Ricoh, to help companies and their co-workers to make the shift from office working to home working, they offer a home office package of supplies on a monthly rental basis.

02: Instant digital human interaction

As a human being we want to feel connected with people. We need, we crave for human interaction. As we are getting more ‘isolated’ into our homes, we seek human interaction via our digital devices. The usage of social media has peaked as never before. Which made us used to the
instant interaction (for some the instant dopamine shot). This is what we also expect from companies.

At important touchpoints we expect instant human interaction. To start with existing touchpoints, like email. A simple example is the auto responder email. You have filled in a form or sent an email to an info@. We now expect instant feedback from a person. Not an auto response like “we will contact you within 2 days”.

Okay, that wasn’t really instant, what we truly want is live interactions, like chat. Not waiting 15 minutes on the phone for a specialist, but instant advice over the chat.

In 2021, new virtual forms will arise to give a real human touch and interactive product visualisation.

When I was shopping for a new macbook on the Apple website, I had some questions. At first I was hesitating to choose for a chat as many of the chats are ran by bots. But I got into contact wit a real specialst. He, Niko, helped me tremendously. That was instant human interaction.

03: Digital zero tolerance

As we are used to having instant interaction and services at our fingertips, we are “digital zero tolerant”. We find it unacceptable to stumble upon a website that is not reflecting who you are as a company, contains out-of-date information or has a webshop with no up-to-date inventory.

We do not trust companies who are hard to find, non-active on social media or have little to no reviews. We are digital intolerant. So, companies need to take their digital behaviour to a level that is acceptable.

1. Identity
Identify yourself. Give your company a spirit, a soul. What is your DNA? Why do you do the things you do? Who are you? What is your passion? Make sure you have a clear customer value proposition on your website.

2. Active
Be active on your website? Your website  is a reflection of what is going on in your company. Share knowledge and inspiration. Show you employees. Help website visitors with their search for products and services. 

3. Service.
People are looking for service. So how can you serve your prospects or customers on your website? Make sure there is an instant human interaction. Give them self service tools like a product selector or a comparison tool.

When I want to buy electro. My first website visit is Coolblue. Thei website is full of service, information and inspiration. They really want to help you out to make the best informative buying decision. The helpful experience is in their DNA. Their slogan is: anything for a smile.

04: Visual Commerce

If Moses cannot come to the mountain, then bring the mountain to Moses. It is about bringing the full product experience to the customer.

We will spend less time offline to experience a product in real life. A visit to a shop or a visit by a salesman is more a part of our transactional journey, than the explorative journey. It all happens digitally. Therefore, visual commerce is the norm of making people buy.

The term visual commerce was already introduced several years ago and means “instead of showing just your product, you show the context of how people use your product.” Visual commerce is the concept of enriching customer experience with powerful, inspirational and enticing visual content that prompts shoppers to engage, convert and form a preference.

The secret is: context, visual and customer. Dear marketeer, think outside your stock photos and act with customer generated content. Encourage your customers to share. Show not your product, but show the customer value.

I love sports. But there is so much gear, clothes, shoes to choose from. How can you make a difference as a sports brand? Well, Under Armour makes the difference by showing all of their products within the context of its customers. So it is really easy for people to recognise their situation and see the products of Under Armout fit into their life. 

05: Zero effort transaction

People now expect more than just a frictionless delivery experience, they now expect more flexibility. While Colruyt Group started with home delivery services in May, Amazon already started years ago with in-car delivery and even in-home delivery (Amazon Key). Other companies are working together to bundle their delivery.

The next step in delivery is the pro-active delivery, this is the ultimate convenience. This is not only happening in B2C but also in B2B. This means you don’t even need to order the product anymore. A perfect example of this worry-less consumption model is the subscription model. I do believe in 2021 we will see more and more business turning to subscription-based models.

One of my favourite coffee bars in Gent is Way. There are located in Dok Noord. People with passion. Passion for coffee and good food. They roast their own coffee beans. With a lot of dedication they explain the whole roasting process and learn you how to become a barrista. Passion and easy experience. They have 2 subscription formulas to get your freshly roasted coffee at you home delivered every 2 weeks.

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